[On 12 July 2021, a few hours after the President announced the health pass for the whole territory, and at the same time a return of the state of emergency from the next day for the French colonies of Reunion and Martinique, with curfew (from 9pm to 5am) and the return of night passes, the prefect of the latter managed to put it in place. Despite this, from the evening of Tuesday 13 July, demonstrations took place at 9pm to defy it in the capital of Martinique Fort-de-France, sometimes continuing during the week (110 fines handed out on the night of Thursday to Friday), and on Saturday 17 July they continued into clashes with the police all night long: jewellery shops looted, police station smashed up, cars and the EDF agency set on fire, and an attempt to set fire to the courthouse…]
Fort-de-France, Martinique, 18 July: jewellery shop looted then set on fire
Heuraux in Fort-de-France, where jewellery shops were targeted by looters
Martinique, 18 July 2021
This Sunday morning (18 July 2021), the inhabitants of the city centre of Fort-de-France are discovering the effects of the night’s clashes between the police and demonstrators opposed to the curfew.
A jewellery shop on Rue Lamartine was stormed shortly after 10pm. It was opened, emptied and set on fire at around 2am this Sunday, our journalists on the spot said. The neighbours of the three-storey building moved out during the night because they were bothered by the smoke.
Fort-de-France, Martinique, 18 July: the EDF agency completely ravaged by flames
Later, at around 4am, a group of at least four people tried to break into another jewellery store on Rue Lamartine but the security system resisted [according to the prefecture, a jewellery store and two mobile phone shops were successfully looted]. By retreating far from the prefecture, small groups who intended to fight with the forces of order caused fires that the fire brigade was able to extinguish under the protection of the police and gendarmes.
In addition, some videos posted on social networks show an attempt to set fire to the courthouse. Five people were arrested by the police, according to the Fort-de-France police station. In addition, a police officer’s hand was injured during the night’s clashes in Fort-de-France.
Desolate scenes in Fort-de-France after a night of violence
France Antilles, 18 July 2021
Fumaroles still active, on this Sunday, around 7 am. In several places in the city of Fort-de-France, the embers of the night’s fires are still burning. Everywhere, stones and remnants of tear gas canisters not yet collected testify to the violent clashes that took place during the night.
Quickly, around the prefecture, things degenerated, with the call for a new mobilisation this Saturday evening. During the day, the first demonstration had gone well, without a hitch. More than 2200 people were present.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such violence in Fort-de-France,” commented our correspondent, who was there last night. According to him, at least 700 people were gathered, coming from Terres-Sainville, Hauts du Port or elsewhere for those on motorbikes. “Some had bags full of stones”.
The police station was targeted: several star-shaped broken windows, notably on the reception doors, were clearly visible this morning. Two police officers were injured, one seriously. Shops – in particular jewellers’ shops – were broken into and looted, particularly in the Perrinon area. Vehicles were burnt. In Place François Mitterrand, the offices of EDF were set on fire.
Fort-de-France, 18 July: the entrance to the central police station was also damaged
Several dozen people also attacked the courthouse, trying to set it on fire, as shown on video. The night’s clashes reportedly led to five arrests.
Fort-de-France (Martinique), 18 July: the courthouse on fire (against the gate, but also behind it, where traces of smoke can still be seen on its façade)
Service disrupted at EDF after arson attack on customer branch
France Antilles, 18 July 2021
The EDF customer agency in Martinique, Place François Mitterrand, was completely burnt down during the night of 17 to 18 March. “In a press release, EDF said it was “denouncing with great regret the fact that the EDF customer agency in Fort-de-France was burnt down during the night of March 17-18, during the clashes between demonstrators and the police. The company added that it “denounces in the strongest terms these acts against a public service and has filed a complaint for deliberate damage by fire”.
The damage is significant and services to customers will be severely disrupted in the coming days, the company warned. It will not be possible to welcome customers physically or by telephone.