A group of mainly white workers, who joined the anti-government protest against the lowering of the minimum wage on Friday, stopped traffic across Guadeloupe, which was targeted by riots on Friday evening. A second demonstration of 500 people, most of them migrants, also gathered in Pointe-a-Pitre, north of the island, where police used tear gas to disperse rowdy crowds. Much of the island remained tense on Saturday, with the working week at an end and higher temperatures bringing the tensions into place.
In Pointe-a-Pitre, around 300 students in a neighborhood school run by Uniao Da Madeira, a French nonprofit group, closed the school for the day and camped out across the street, surrounded by high fences and riot police.
“I went to school just three times this week because there was all this noise and people in the hallway,” said Bianca Valentin, who is of Guadeloupe and works at Uniao Da Madeira. “My mother asked me to come home, so that’s what I did. I was disappointed that the school closed because we were supposed to celebrate Junot Diaz’s birthday.” Diaz, the renowned writer and novelist, died in January. “The teachers said they want to go to school because they can’t be late. But there’s nothing at school, and there’s a lot of [hangers-on] outside,” Valentin said. “I can’t help myself.”
Jose Martre, the headmaster of the school, said at a news conference on Saturday that all classes at the school had been suspended on Friday and would continue on Saturday. “I want to send a strong message to people who think the school is not important,” he said. “On Saturday, we’ll be back at the school, with a message of peace.”
For more information, see The New York Times.
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