Protests disrupt life in French islands

BASSE-TERRE, Guadeloupe, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Protests against high prices and low wages that have paralyzed the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe have also spread to neighboring Martinique.

Strikes led by the Collective Against Extreme Exploitation began on Guadeloupe about three weeks ago, The Guardian reports. They started on Martinique last week as Yves Jego, the French minister for overseas territories, ended a brief trip to the region.


Jego returned Thursday to attempt to negotiate an end to the protests.

Both islands are overseas departments, legally part of France, with representation in the French parliament and the euro as currency. But in both, union leaders and activists say the poor black majority is exploited by a white minority.

The government fears the unrest could extend to Reunion in the Indian Ocean and French Guiana, where many have similar complaints.

In the meantime, the islands are losing millions of dollars in tourist revenue during the high season.

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