"Resentment by Afro-Caribbeans, many of whom are descendants of slaves, over the fact that the vast majority of wealth and land is in the hands of the descendants of French colonists(A minority of whites racist"bekkes" with parenting in France wih the psichology of the time of slavery) is a big factor in much of the unrest."
Economic unrest spreads to Réunion
Reuters -"International Herald tribune"
Thursday, March 5, 2009
SAINT-DENIS, Réunion: Protests spread Thursday from two French possessions in the Caribbean to the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, where about 15,000 people demonstrated in different cities against high prices.
The protests on Réunion present the French government with a new challenge, coming just as union leaders on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe agreed to suspend a 44-day-old general strike. Protests on the nearby island of Martinique are also ebbing.
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French possessions in the Pacific have not seen protests, but they face the same kind of problems as in the French Antilles islands in the Caribbean: high prices, unemployment, poverty and low salaries.
"Our objective has largely been fulfilled," said Jean-Hugues Ratenon, president of a Réunion umbrella group of about three dozen organizations seeking improvements in living standards. "Réunion is united, unified and together."
The demonstrators presented the French authorities with a list of 62 demands that will be negotiated with the government and representatives in the coming days. High on the list of demands is an increase of $250 a month for low-paid workers and a 20 percent cut in the price of basic necessities, many of which are imported from France.
"We will lean on the victory in the Antilles to satisfy the biggest number of our grievances," said Ivan Hoareau, a union leader. "If we continue here, it is to help our buddies in the Antilles."
Union leaders in Réunion have called for a strike March 10 if their demands are not met.
In Guadeloupe, union leaders agreed late Wednesday to suspend the strike because most of their demands were being met. The strike there shut down the island, closed schools and caused major economic losses as thousands of tourists canceled their vacations.
On Martinique, a nearly monthlong strike appeared to be losing steam as well, but was yet to be resolved.
Resentment by Afro-Caribbeans, many of whom are descendants of slaves, over the fact that the vast majority of wealth and land is in the hands of the descendants of French colonists is a big factor in much of the unrest.