Unemployment riots on dream islands


Demonstrators took to the streets of Paris over the weekend to show their support for striking workers on France’s Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are popular with thousands of yachtsmen who fly there to charter each year.

They paid homage to a labour union member, Jacques Bino, who died of a gunshot wound in Guadeloupe this week, apparently shot by rioting youths. Many of the marchers carried images of Bino, who was hit as he drove home from a Tuesday night meeting with the organizers of the monthlong strike against the high cost of living and low wages.

Paris protesters also brandished signs reading “Life is expensive under the coconut trees” and comparing the island’s 22.7 percent unemployment rate with the 8.1 percent jobless rate in mainland France.

On Guadeloupe, the strike has paralyzed the island for a month. Violence flared earlier this week, reaching its apex with Bino’s death, but has largely died down following a televised address by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. AP