General strike flares over crime rates, unemployment and lack of services in France’s overseas region.
The people of French Guiana are fed up and on strike. Located in South America, the French overseas territory shut down schools, shops and even stopped flights last week in an effort to get France’s attention.
Strike organisers, backed by more than 30 labour unions, have outlined a list of demands for France. Growing concerns about crime, unemployment and lack of development are just some of the issues they want addressed. They are also calling for greater development of health, infrastructure and education.
The strike has gained support from the majority of residents living in the former French colony. Solidarity protests, powered by thousands of people who say they feel forgotten by the mainland, have swept across the region.
France has taken notice. Last week, Paris sent representatives to meet and negotiate with lead organisers. While they have made headway on some key areas, they have not come to an agreement on all terms. On Saturday, the French government offered $1.2 billion in aid over 10 years. But labour leaders said the offer is not enough. They countered for an “immediate” $2.6 billion emergency aid package, which the French government has since rejected as “unrealistic”.
In this episode of The Stream, we get the latest on a strike that has paralysed the region.
On this episode of the Stream, we speak with:
Thibault Lechat-Vega @ThibsVega
Journalist, Radio Péyi
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