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Protests in Guadeloupe descend into violence

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Protests in Guadeloupe descend into violence


One man has been shot dead and several police officers have been injured in another night of violence on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

A month-long general strike over the high cost of living on the island has degenerated sharply in the past few days, and is spreading to neighbouring Martinique. The situation has apparently got out of the control with the alliance of unions leading the strikes calling on calm. Inhabitants are protesting against Guadeloupe’s dependency on expensive imports for fuel and many food staples. Unemployment on the island runs at more than 20 percent and wages are lower than in metropolitan France. Adding to a sense of injustice, most of the island’s big businesses are owned by a minority of white families, descendents of slave-era colonialists. Talks between protestors and the French government have stalled. Local representatives are due to meet French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday.

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