"POLICE SENT TO KILL US": Guadeloupe workers appeal for solidarity
PART of the European Union has been hit by a month-long general strike over the cost of living. Troops have been sent in. At least one union activist has been shot dead. Strike leaders accuse the authorities of wanting to kill them to defeat the strike.
I haven't seen anything on the TV news yet, but it has started to make the papers. The strike is on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which is ruled by France as a department, and is therefore part of the European Union. I am grateful to a friend in New Zealand for bringing this item from an Afro-American website to my attention:
Support the Guadeloupe Strike: Appeal to the International Worker's and Democratic Movements
LIYANNAJ KONT PWOFITASYON
Collectif des 47 organisations
UGTG, Rue Paul Lacavé 97 110 Point-à-Pitre Guadeloupe
Fax : International : 00 335 90 89 08 70
France : 05 90 89 08 70
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW OFFICIAL LKP WEBSITE: Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon
Appeal to the International Workers' and Democratic Movements
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
As we wrote in our last international appeal of February 6, 2009: "The
bosses and the representatives of the French State are hoping that the
general strike will die down, so that they can then begin the
This is visibly the political thinking that prompted the French State to
take action, as they did on February 16.
In the face of the obstinate refusal by the French State and the bosses
to heed our demands, in the face of their scorn for the people of
Guadeloupe, the Liannaj Kont Pwofitation Strike Collective, or LKP,
issued a call to the population on the 28th day of the General Strike to
reinforce the picket lines across the country. The French State
proceeded to repress the movement, seriously injuring one trade union
leader, injuring others less seriously, and arresting more than 70
activists, including many trade union leaders of the LKP Strike
The population, the workers, the youth have said, "Enough is Enough!"
They refuse to give up the struggle.
A number of elected officials protested against this State violence,
which was also denounced by the LKP.
The workers, the youth, the people of Guadeloupe have strengthened their
mobilizations on the ground. Their resolute actions won the freedom of
all the jailed activists.
Today, on the 29th day of the general strike [Feb. 17], Guadeloupe is
paralyzed by barricades in nearly every commune.
Youth were arrested the night of February 16-17, 2009.
This repression is going to continue, as the French State has just sent
in a reinforcement of 1,000 mobile police troops [to bolster the 4,000
troops sent in on Feb. 7 -- translator's note]. The LKP has issued a
call to the population to reinforce their mobilizations.
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
In the name of international labor solidarity, in the name of democracy,
we call upon you once more to request your support for our just
The workers and people of Guadeloupe have the right to fight for their
ADIM - AFOC - AGPIHM - AKIYO - AN BOUT'AY - ANG - ANKA - ASSE -
ASS.AGRICULTEURS DU NORD BASSE-TERRE - ASS.LIBERTE EGALITE JUSTICE
W-- Guadeloupe, February 17, 2009
And here is a report from the Nasdaq news site and Wall Street Journal, which also tells us the strike has spread to Martinique.
"Strike Leader Says France Sends Police To Kill Guadeloupeans,"
POINTE-A-PITRE (AFP)--The leader of a general strike crippling Guadeloupe has accused France of preparing to kill protestors to bring an end to the stoppage on the French Caribbean island.
"Today, given the number of gendarmes who have arrived in Guadeloupe armed to the teeth, the French state has chosen its natural path: to kill Gaudeloupeans as usual," Elie Domota told AFP on Saturday.
Domota is the leader of the Collective against Exploitation (LKP), which groups most of Guadeloupe's unions and political parties and which launched the general strike there on Jan/ 20 over low wages and the high cost of living.
His accusation came as some supermarkets and petrol stations, which have been shut for more than three weeks, reopened as police stood by to protect the premises against potential protests by strikers on the tropical island.
"Every time there have been demonstrations in Guadeloupe to demand pay rises, the response of the state has been repression, notably in May 1967 in Pointe-a- Pitre where there were 100 deaths, building workers massacred by the gendarmes," Domota said.
On Saturday thousands of workers marched through the town of Le Moule chanting "Guadeloupe is ours, it's not theirs."
They were referring to the "Bekes," the white minority which holds economic power on an island where most of the half million residents are descendants of African slaves.
Christiane Taubira, a French member of parliament for the overseas department of French Guiana on the south American continent, warned Sunday that the situation in Guadeloupe was "not far from social apartheid."
She said in an interview that "the leaders of the LKP are not anti-white racists.
"They are exposing a reality...a caste holds economic power and abuses it," she told Le Journal du Dimanche.
Most shops, cafes, banks, schools and government offices have been shut in Guadeloupe since the start of the strike. The neighbouring French island of Martinique began its own general strike more than a week ago.
The government has said it will not give in to strikers' demands for a monthly EUR200 increase in base salaries.
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