Friday, February 20, 2009
Britons flee French island of Guadeloupe as rioters turn on white families
Britons are among thousands of tourists fleeing Guadeloupe after full scale urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island. Trouble broke out on the island in January 2009 after protesters began rioting over high prices and low wages. But the situation escalated after protesters began turning on rich white families as they demanded an end to colonial control of the economy. The troubles come at the height of the holiday season, with thousands of mainly British, French and American tourists on the paradise tropical island. Protesters were now targeting 'all white people', with the media in mainland France describing the situation as virtual civil war'. Guadeloupe is a French overseas department ruled directly from Paris, and authorities in France have sent 300 extra riot police to the island in a bid to quell the violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters are roaming the streets of the capital Point-a-Pitre, looting shops and restaurants, burning cars and vandalising public buildings. Holiday resorts along the coast have hired extra security to protect tourists, while the airport is jammed with visitors now trying to get out of the country.