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Ten members of the security forces were injured and four journalists were targeted by gunfire on the night of Thursday to Friday in Martinique, where the violence sparked a strong reaction from the government, while the crisis also continues in Guadeloupe.

Martinique was once again the scene of a night of riots and the security forces, as well as journalists, were the target of live ammunition, the Fort-de-France prosecutor’s office announced on Friday in a press release.

“Another night of riots took place yesterday with serious abuses: barricades on fire, burglaries and damage by fires, systematic racketeering of the inhabitants”, reports the prosecutor, Clarisse Taron, in her press release.

She also mentions “live ammunition” against police officers, gendarmes and journalists.

According to a police source, ten police officers were slightly injured in the incidents of the night, during which three businesses were looted.

The Fort-de-France prosecutor’s office reports that a gendarme was seriously injured during an intervention on a burglary.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported on Twitter early Friday morning of ten arrests overnight, without specifying whether this figure only concerned Martinique or also Guadeloupe.

A police source for his part mentioned six arrests in Martinique, specifying that the situation had remained calm during the night in Guadeloupe.

In a press release, the Altice Media group, owner of BFMTV and RMC, said on Friday that one of its teams, as well as colleagues from Agence France Presse and the ABACA agency, present in Martinique, had suffered the last night live ammunition near a roadblock.

“Fortunately, they were not affected,” said the group, which denounces an “intolerable act” and announces that it will initiate legal proceedings.

Social crisis

Guadeloupe and Martinique, 120 km from each other, are experiencing a major protest movement, born of the refusal of the vaccination obligation for caregivers and firefighters, which degenerated into a social crisis, revealing expectations a population where many live below the poverty line, with high unemployment among young people.

Martinique is the French overseas region least affected by unemployment. However, in 2020, the unemployment rate stood at 12.4%, or 4.4 points more than in mainland France, due to a narrow labor market and a local lack of skills.

The median standard of living of the population is 17% lower than the national level, the poverty rate (29.8%) almost twice as high.

The social movement is accompanied by nightly urban violence which prompted the prefect of Martinique to establish a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Thursday, while the prefect of Guadeloupe extended the one already in progress on the island.

With AFP and Reuters

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