February 20, 2009

France is sending four state police units to its overseas department of Guadeloupe after a month of sometimes violent demonstrations, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Thursday.

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“The pillaging … the violence against people, are not tolerable and will not be tolerated,” Alliot-Marie told the French radio station RTL. “It’s no longer simply a question of containing the protests. … This mission of honor will continue to be undertaken, but we also have to fight against the violence.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy planned to meet with elected officials from overseas departments, including Guadeloupe, Thursday afternoon, his office announced.

A general strike over low wages and living conditions in the Caribbean island has included demonstrations and clashes with police. At least one civilian has been killed in the riots, officials said.

Hospitals and emergency services continue to function and the main international airport is open, but petrol stations, schools, and most businesses — including supermarkets and car rental offices — are closed, the British Foreign Office said in a travel advisory.

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