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Burned cars, buildings in the aftermath of COVID-19 unrest in Guadeloupe

The two weeks of violent protests against COVID-19 restrictions in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe have resulted in vehicles and buildings being torched and scores of people sustaining injuries.

The damage remained visible on Monday, the second week of a general strike in the French territory of roughly 400,000 people over COVID-19 restrictions.

The unrest erupted last week over COVID-19 curbs imposed by Paris, including the mandatory vaccination of health workers and health pass rules, but it has also revealed a deeper discontent over the relationship between some overseas territories and metropolitan France.

Streets were unusually quiet in Pointe-a-Pitre on Monday after a fourth straight night of trouble that was less intense than previous nights. Burned out cars and debris littered streets and most shops remained closed.

Pointe-a-Pitre store owner Willy Romanos said his establishment was set on fire after jewellery stores were looted across his street.

"I don't know how, but they cross over the street, and the fire came to my building. I lost everything," he said.

Local police have arrested several dozen people and food stores and pharmacies have been looted. French media reported on Sunday that rioters had broken into an arms depot in Pointe-a-Pitre and taken rifles.

Guadeloupe has been hit by violent protests before, but he said there were "big worries" on the island now because rioters had guns. Schools were closed on Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said anger about a vaccine mandate in the French overseas territory had created an “explosive” situation.

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