An abandoned car on fire blocks the road in Baie Nettle as protests resumed early Tuesday morning. (Photo contributed).
MARIGOT—Protests on the French side continued from early Tuesday morning as barricades or road blocks containing abandoned cars closed the main road in Baie Nettle. A barricade was also placed across the road on the Maigot side of the Sandy Ground Bridge preventing access to Sandy Ground. There have been running battles between youths and Gendarmes in riot gear.
The Gendarmerie reported it had confronted a group of around 30 young people from 3:00am erecting barricades in Marigot or setting abandoned vehicles alight. Gendarmes also had fireworks thrown at them.
At 5:30am the Gendarmerie said roads were usable, however the Bellevue border was blocked with rocks. At 8:30am, the Sandy Ground Bridge was blocked, while a barricade was placed across the road near La Belle Creole making circulation difficult. A brush fire was also started and had to be extinguished. Gendarmes and the Fire Department (pompiers) have been on the scene all morning.
Also in the morning, youths attacked shops in Baie Nettle and hurled projectiles at Gendarmes. Gendarme reinforcements were then brought in after which the youths retreated. However, the youths regrouped to claim more ground, to which the Gendarmerie at 2:00pm said it was in the process of taking back.
Préfet Serge Gouteyron condemned the violence. In a statement he said: “While St. Martiners aspire to a normal life and social peace, some individuals try in a very targeted way, to sow disorder without other demands than those of the law of the street.
“After four years of economic, health and social difficulties, the island does not need this. The State, neighbourhood representatives, associations and elected officials have strengthened the dialogue to improve the daily life of the inhabitants, to bring a future for young people and develop the territory. I appeal to reason and to everyone’s positive attitude. It is now time to move forward.”