Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport, Appeal for Solidarity
1) Appeal to the International Workers' and DemocraticMovements
2) Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport
Appeal to the International Workers' and
Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon Site officiel du collectifd'organisations syndicales, associatives, politiques & culturelles de Guadeloupewww.lkp-gwa.org
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
As we wrote in our last international appeal ofFebruary 6, 2009: "The bosses and the representativesof the French State are hoping that the general strike
will die down, so that they can then begin therepression."This is visibly the political thinking that promptedthe French State to take action, as they did onFebruary 16.In the face of the obstinate refusal by the FrenchState and the bosses to heed our demands, in the faceof their scorn for the people of Guadeloupe, theLiannaj Kont Pwofitation Strike Collective, or LKP,issued a call to the population on the 28th day of theGeneral Strike to reinforce the picket lines across thecountry. The French State proceeded to repress themovement, seriously injuring one trade union leader,injuring others less seriously, and arresting more than70 activists, including many trade union leaders of theLKP Strike Collective.The population, the workers, the youth have said,"Enough is Enough!" They refuse to give up thestruggle.A number of elected officials protested against thisState violence, which was also denounced by the LKP.The workers, the youth, the people of Guadeloupe havestrengthened their mobilizations on the ground. Theirresolute actions won the freedom of all the jailedactivists.Today, on the 29th day of the general strike [Feb. 17],Guadeloupe is paralyzed by barricades in nearly everycommune.Youth were arrested the night of February 16-17, 2009.This repression is going to continue, as the FrenchState has just sent in a reinforcement of 1,000 mobilepolice troops [to bolster the 4,000 troops sent in onFeb. 7 -- translator's note]. The LKP has issued a callto the population to reinforce their mobilizations.Dear Sisters and Brothers:In the name of international labor solidarity, in thename of democracy, we call upon you once more torequest your support for our just struggle.The workers and people of Guadeloupe have the right tofight for their legitimate demands!
ADIM - AFOC - AGPIHM - AKIYO - AN BOUT'AY - ANG - ANKA- ASSE - ASS.AGRICULTEURS DU NORD BASSE-TERRE -ASS.LIBERTE EGALITE JUSTICE - CFTC - CGTG - CNL -COMBAT OUVRIER - COMITE DE L'EAU - CONVENTION POUR UNEGUADELOUPE NOUVELLE - COPAGUA - CSFG - CTU - ESPERANCEENVIRONNEMENT - FAEN SNCL - FO - FSU - GIE SBT -KAMODJAKA - KAP Gwadloup - LES VERTS - MADICE - MAS KAKLE - MOUVMAN NONM - PCG - SGEP/SNEC/CFTC - SOS B/TerreENVIRONNEMENT - SPEG - SUD PTT GWA - SUNICAG - SYMPACFDT - TRAVAYE Ã© PEYIZAN - UDCLCV - UIR CFDT - UNSA -UGTG - UPG - UPLG - UMPG - VOukoum-SNUIPP-ADEIC --Guadeloupe, February 17, 2009
Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport
February 17, 2009
BASSE-TERRE, GuadeloupeThe French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe was on theverge of rebellion, a political leader said Tuesdayafter stone-throwing protesters set cars and buildingsablaze, forced the international airport to close andclashed with police.Nearly four weeks of work stoppages and demonstrationsfor lower prices and higher pay have caused thousandsof tourists to flee or cancel holidays on the normallytranquil island, prompting many hotels to close andcruise ships to head elsewhere."It is a political crisis, an institutional crisis andwe are on the brink of sedition," Guadeloupe'sRegional Council President Victorin Lurel told France-Info radio.From Paris, France's Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the protests had caused "degradation,devastation and confrontations" on Guadeloupe and its
sister island, Martinique, where most shops and officeshave been closed by the protests.She urged "calm, responsibility and restraint" andsaid she hoped for a resumption of talks withprotesters that broke down last week.Police said they arrested 18 people overnight asprotesters burned cars, a library and a boat-rentalstore in Sainte-Anne and Point-a-Pitre. An official,speaking on the standard condition of anonymity, saidat least three officers suffered minor wounds due togunshots fired by looters taking advantage of thechaos.Guadeloupe's main airport was closed Tuesday becauseworkers could not pass through barricaded and debris-clogged roads, said Guadeloupe's top appointedofficial, Nicolas Desforges, and several flights werecanceled.Paris has refused to budge on strikers' demands for a200 euro ($250) monthly raise for low-paid workers whonow make roughly 900 euros ($1,130) a month. Butbusiness leaders in Martinique have agreed to lowerprices by 20 percent on 100 products, including fooditems.Strikers want prices cut on nearly all supermarketproducts -- a step that Stephane Hayot, a spokesman forthe National Union of Wholesale Distributors, said"would represent our death sentence" by forcing themto sell at prices that don't cover their costs.Police detained 50 demonstrators on Monday after theywere pelted by stones as they tried to take downbarricades. Roadblocks were being gradually liftedTuesday morning and a trickle of vehicle traffic wasresuming, the police official said.The U.S. Embassy in Paris issued Americans inGuadeloupe and Martinique to avoid crowds."Most commercial activities have ceased, and there aremounting shortages of food, water, and power on bothislands," the embassy said. "In Guadeloupe there arereports of increasing tensions, with armed gangs
blockading routes and targeting residents and tourists.There have been no reports of U.S. citizens beingspecifically targeted."In Martinique, taxi and bus drivers blocked streets onTuesday and honked their horns as they arrived at cityhall in the capital, Fort-de-France.Lurel warned that the islands were heading toward"radicalization, a rise in extremism.""We have the impression that we have been abandoned,that there is an organized indifference," he told theradio station.
----------Associated Press writers Cecile Brisson in Paris andRodolphe Lamy in Fort-de-France, Martinique contributedto this report.