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High prices divide Reunion Island

High prices divide Reunion Island
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Price riots have taken place on the French island of Reunion for a third consecutive night, despite Thursday’s pledges by authorities to bring prices down.

The council is meeting today to debate the measures.

Overnight sporadic clashes between protesters and police in the main city of Saint Denis led to 35 arrests. Molotov cocktails started numerous fires and several police were injured.

Security forces say the violence in Saint Denis on Thursday night was less than previous nights but the unrest did spread to several other towns on Reunion indicating public anger remains high.

The authorities say they will cut petrol prices by 0.05 euros per litre but protesters are demanding utilities and food prices should also come down, to the same level as on the French mainland.

“I don’t buy yoghurts anymore, that’s done,” said one man outside a supermarket. “There are plenty of things I don’t buy anymore, because the prices are unaffordable, I’m cutting back on everything.”

Some 52 percent of the islanders live below the poverty threshold and unemployment stands at around 30 percent.