The government of President Nicolas Sarkozy has responded to the general strike in Guadeloupe by escalating the repression that resulted in the death of striker Jacques Bino on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, it sent 300 police reinforcements to the island.
When Sarkozy made his national address on TV on Thursday evening, presenting his plan for the social crisis in France as a result of the economic crisis, he failed to refer to Jacques Bino. He reserved any proposals for a solution to the general strikes taking place in France's West Indian possessions from January 20 in Guadeloupe and February 5 in Martinique until the following day, after meeting with political representatives from the islands.
The central demand of the general strike, a monthly wage rise of €200 for the 45,000 poorest workers of Guadeloupe, also taken up by the Martinique movement, has met with a categorical refusal by the government.
The response of the French left and the trade unions has been to avoid any specific support for this demand, to prevent the struggle in Guadeloupe and Martinique from linking up with resistance by workers in metropolitan France.