PARIS (Reuters) – Security staff at a hospital on the French Caribbean island of Martinique have been attacked with acid, French government ministers said on Friday, highlighting unrest on the island due to anger over government policies and COVID-19 protocols.

Unrest in areas such as the French West Indies and Corsica could increasingly become an issue for voters, ahead of next month’s French presidential election.

“Yesterday morning, during a meeting between the new hospital chief Jerome Le Briere and hospital trade unions, around thirty demonstrators tried to disrupt the meeting, with six security staff getting acid thrown onto their faces,” said a joint statement on Friday by French Health Minister Olivier Veran and Overseas Territories Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

A judicial probe has been launched following the attack, added Veran and Lecornu in their statement.

Martinique and its neighbouring French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe have been hit by protests in recent months, partly due to anger on the islands over France’s COVID policies.

Compulsory vaccinations for health workers, a measure already introduced on the French mainland, has fuelled resentment among the islands’ majority Black population.

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