The French government has said it’s open to talks on granting autonomy to Guadeloupe following riots on the Caribbean-island territory.
“Some elected officials have raised the question of autonomy … According to them, Guadeloupe could better manage itself,” Sebastien Lecornu, France’s minister for overseas territories, said in a video address to islanders late Friday. “The government is ready to talk about this. There are no bad debates as long as these debates serve to solve the real problems in the daily lives of the people of Guadeloupe.”
Guadeloupe, one of France’s five overseas departments, has experienced over a week of violent unrest sparked by French authorities’ decision to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health workers and firefighters.
The protests have snowballed into rioting and looting, injuring several police officers. Unrest has also spread to neighbouring Martinique, another French overseas territory.
France initially reacted by sending elite forces to the island to quell the unrest. On Friday the French health ministry postponed to December 31 the deadline for health workers and firefighters on the islands to get vaccinated.
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