French overseas territories and French citizens living abroad begin voting Saturday in the final round of the French presidential election, facing a choice between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The French government signed an agreement with protesters and local MPs in Guiana Friday, ending a vast protest movement that had paralysed the country for over a month, said the French Minister for Overseas Territories Ericka Bareigts.
The movement behind more than three weeks of social unrest in French Guiana said Monday it would press its action until the government signs a draft accord on an emergency package and reopens talks on further funds.
Protesters withdrew from the rocket-launching space centre in French Guiana on Wednesday as the French government approved a one-billion-euro emergency package to quell a wave of strikes.
France will not give in to demands for an “unrealistic” 2.5 billion euro ($2.7 billion) aid package for French Guiana, which has been swept by social unrest, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.
Labour leaders behind massive strikes in French Guiana have rejected a billion-euro aid package offered by the French government, demanding instead €2.5 billion right away.
A protest group that has led two weeks of general strikes in French Guiana has dismissed France’s offer of €1 billion to tackle persistent social problems as “unsatisfactory” and is instead demanding a “new status” for the overseas territory.
The roots of the crisis paralysing France’s South American enclave are to be found in the distinctive history of this remote outpost of the French Republic, which once served as a tropical penal colony.
Large protests have spread throughout French Guiana, blocking roads to neighboring Brazil and Suriname and prompting the US government to issue a travel warning Friday for the French territory in South America.