Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Exxon sues US over $2m fine for violating Russia sanctions

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Too sexy for Malaysia': Hit single 'Despacito' stirs controversy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is this the end of Emmanuel Macron's honeymoon period?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Macron's air force uniform draws Tom Cruise comparisons

Read more

THE DEBATE

Polish democracy under threat? EU warns Warsaw over judicial independence

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Game of Thrones and TV's golden age

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of the summer's exhibitions in Paris

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Game of Thrones returns: Mega fans bask in themed pop-up bar

Read more

FOCUS

Unwanted children: 3,800 babies abandoned in South Africa every year

Read more

Americas

French Guiana protests resume after Easter 'truce'

© Jody Amiet, AFP | Protesters in French Guiana say barricades that were lifted for Easter will be back in place from Monday night.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-04-18

The movement behind more than three weeks of social unrest in French Guiana said Monday it would press its action until the government signs a draft accord on an emergency package and reopens talks on further funds.

Activists are protesting against what they say is decades of under-investment in the French territory in South America, paralysed by a general strike which 37 unions called on March 25.

Locals have been pressing demands for a "Marshall Plan" of French aid, along the lines of the huge US economic support given to help western Europe to recover after World War II.

The seven-page accord "to suspend the movement in its present form", drawn up by the "Collective to Get Guiana Moving" spearheading the protests, was sent to the government on Sunday.

"To have a swift signature, we have an obligation to harden the movement," Valerie Vanoukia, representative of very small companies in Guiana, said on behalf of the collective after a general meeting calling on the population to remobilise.

She said the barricades which had been lifted for Easter would be back in place from Monday night.

The draft accord calls for an emergency plan of more than one billion euros ($1.07 billion) put forward by the government and proposes reopening dialogue on an additional two billion euros the protestors have demanded so far.

Understanding French Guiana's social unrest

Vanoukia stressed that in the original government text, questions on health, education, land and the communes "have not received any real answers".

She said two points were non-negotiable: "The government must act on the fact that the Guianese people want to take charge".

And she insisted that no demonstrators taking part in the movement would face punishment.

"We accept the resumption of the dialogue that the president of the republic has proposed to us," she said, and "to have a quick response, we will continue raising the pressure" just before the first round of the French presidential election this weekend.

Vanoukia said she was "very confident to say that the movement will be suspended in the next two or three days".

A blockade of the port in the capital Cayenne has seen the flow of fresh produce slow to a dribble in the territory bordering Surinam and northern Brazil on the northeast coast of South America, some 7,000 kilometres (4,400 miles) from Paris.

The protests also led to the indefinite postponement of an Arianespace rocket launch at Europe's Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.

The Kourou space centre has become a symbol of economic disparity in Guiana and a focus for anger, given many locals have no electricity or running water and around one in four is jobless.

Guiana has been administered as a French region since the end of the 18th century and was also used as a place to send convicts for forced labour between 1852 and 1946.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-04-18

  • FRENCH GUIANA

    Activists behind French Guiana unrest call for shutdown of overseas territory

    Read more

  • OVERSEAS FRANCE

    Paris calls French Guiana demand for €2.5 billion euro aid package ‘unrealistic’

    Read more

  • OVERSEAS FRANCE

    Rockets in the jungle: Understanding French Guiana’s social unrest

    Read more

COMMENT(S)