Amid protests, tourists flee Guadeloupe
BASSE-TERRE, Guadeloupe - Tourists stuck at hotels as violent protests swept this Caribbean island began flying out yesterday after police pulled down barricades following a third night of rioting.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France made a televised appeal for an end to the violence and announced a $730 million financial package to help development in the overseas parts of his nation, including Guadeloupe and Martinique.
"I know that the current economic crisis has shown a light on longstanding problems, which we have never really tried to resolve," Sarkozy said in a televised address.
More than 500 police were deployed across Guadeloupe, some using helicopters to reach towns where youths had set businesses on fire.
Police pulled apart barricades protesters had set up on roads to the main airport, enabling dozens of tourists to depart.
Unemployment on Guadeloupe hit 23 percent in 2007, according to the most recent data from France's national statistics bureau. That compares with 8.3 percent in mainland France in 2007.