Article: "France sends police to quell Guadeloupe riots"
Source: Agence France-Presse
Excerpt(s): POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe (AFP) - - France dispatched hundreds of police reinforcements to its Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Wednesday as a month-long strike over the rising cost of living descended into deadly riots. Union representative Jacques Bino, aged in his 50s, was shot dead overnight when he drove up to a roadblock manned by armed youths in Pointe-a-Pitre, the island's main city. It was not immediately clear who shot him, but he was the first victim of the escalating violence on Guadeloupe, normally a tourist-friendly island but crippled since January 20 by a general strike. "There were no police nearby," said local prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre... The conflict has exposed race and class divisions on the island, where the local white elite wields power over the black majority. The economy is largely in the hands of the "Bekes," the local name for whites who are mostly descendants of colonial landlords and sugar plantation slave owners of the 17th and 18th centuries. A Socialist opposition leader, Malikh Boutih, said it was "shocking" to watch a police force "almost 100 percent white, confront a black population" and drew a parallel with the 2005 suburban riots in France. "There are no concrete buildings, there are palm trees, but it's the same dead-end, the same 'no future' for young people, with joblessness and a feeling of isolation," Boutih said. Unions launched a strike on the neighbouring French island of Martinique on February 5 also to press for higher salaries and measures to bring down the prices of basic goods.
Link to Full Story: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20090219/twl-france-guadeloupe-martinique-strike-6b0205e.html
Picture from Agence France-Presse, originally captioned: A map of Guadeloupe. France mobilised police reinforcements Wednesday after an activist was killed in Guadeloupe as the month-long strike on the French Caribbean island descended into rioting.