Martinique was on Sunday counting the cost after a night of violence in the capital, Fort de France, that saw clashes between police and people protesting measures to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Local reports said hundreds gathered for the protest, some carrying bags of stones which they hurled at the police station.
At least two officers were injured, one of them seriously, and at least five people were arrested, the reports say.
Protesters attacked several offices and the police station and attempted to set the courthouse on fire.
At the same time some pillaged shops while police responded with tear gas.
Irate citizens have been demonstrating against the introduction of several measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the imposition of the latest curfew from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am and a ‘pass sanitaire’ that allows vaccinated individuals more freedom of movement than those who have not received the jab.
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The overnight unrest and looting spilled into early Sunday morning until about 4.00 am leaving in their wake fire-damaged buildings, smashed store and office windows and streets strewn with debris and spent tear gas canisters.
The protests, which started last week, are expected to continue.
Martinique Prefect Stanislas Cazelles has condemned the overnight violence and has warned that a full investigation is underway to bring the ‘thugs’ involved to justice.
“The freedom to demonstrate is a fundamental right which can be expressed while respecting health rules and the curfew. Nevertheless, it will never justify violence and degradation, ” Cazelles asserted.
In addition, he announced that the security forces will remain strongly mobilized to ensure the protection of the city center.
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Photo Credits: Caroline Popovic