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25 Dec, 2021 05:28

WATCH protesters storm French island’s capitol over vaccine mandates

WATCH protesters storm French island’s capitol over vaccine mandates

A group of demonstrators in the French territory of Guadeloupe have stormed the island’s legislative chamber, holding an extended protest over a series of Covid-19 vaccine requirements imposed by the government.

The protest kicked off on Thursday and extended into the next day, with activists seen hoisting banners and chanting slogans denouncing the pandemic measures after pushing their way into the legislature.

Following the incursion on Thursday – which at some points got heated, with activists destroying a Christmas tree in the building’s lobby – regional president Ary Chalus said he had agreed to meet with 10 protest leaders, though only after denouncing the “invasion of the chamber” as an act of “intimidation and unworthy violence.” It’s unclear whether the meeting took place, or if any agreements were made to amend the controversial policies fueling the protests. 

An overseas department of France, Guadeloupe has required medical workers to be vaccinated or risk losing their paycheck, also imposing mask mandates at both indoor and outdoor public spaces and creating a health pass system barring entry to the unvaccinated at certain locations. 

Earlier this month, officials also briefly extended a nightly curfew across more than 20 cities and municipalities, originally brought on the heels of several nights of violent protests around the island, also stoked by anger over its Covid-19 policies. The curfew expired on December 7, however.

In addition to blasting the Covid restrictions, demonstrators also demanded improved access to clean drinking water, increases to wages and pensions, and called on officials to provide more employment opportunities for citizens.