French Guiana paralysed by heightening protests

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Social unrest amid complaints about crime, living costs and poor healthcare has paralysed French Guiana for days, shutting down its international airport and forcing the cancellation of the launch of two Arianespace rockets intended to place in orbit communication satellites.

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The French government is seeking to defuse protests that have shaken French Guiana this week and forced Arianespace to delay launching two communication satellites, reports Bloomberg.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has dispatched a delegation to the French prefecture north of Brazil to seek “concrete solutions” to demonstrators’ demands, the French government said in a statement on Friday. Social unrest amid complaints about crime, living costs and poor healthcare has paralysed French Guiana for days and shut down its international airport.

The mission will hear out all issues raised and “lay the foundations for a negotiation that can to lead to viable and timely measures,” according to the statement.

Arianespace, a venture of Airbus Group and Safran, postponed two launches planned on Thursday for Telebras and Korea’s KT SAT as protesters barricaded roundabouts and blocked entry to French Guiana’s capital, Cayenne.

The US State Department issued a travel alert on Friday, warning that protests in the cities of Kourou and Cayenne “have the potential to become violent.”

Read more of this report from Bloomberg.

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