Over one hundred people Monday gathered at the House of the Unions in support of seven environmental activists who were summoned by the courts in Fort-de-France, the capital of the Caribbean island of Martinique, a French overseas territory.
Authorities blocked the entrance to the Palace of Justice to prevent the arrival of a march in support of seven anti-chlordecone young activists.
“Concentration of repressive forces at the Courthouse demonstrates the use of violence against the Martinican youth," the Committee January-13 (K13) said.
"This provocation by the Prosecutor and the colonial justice demonstrates once again that they are the servants of the Beke caste and the poisoners who refuse to have a real debate on the chemical poisoning of our country.”
Chlordecone or Kepone is a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) which is banned by the 2001 Stockholm Convention. This pesticide was applied to banana plantations in the French Antilles until 1993; however, it has health effects that persist over time.
Strength for Martinique. It is very important to fight against polluter lobbies and casts imprisoning people. The revolt is worldwide! Strike against the chlordecone. The day before yesterday, there was chaos at the Courthouse while the trial of seven anti-chlordecone activists was carried out. A police car collided with another vehicle during its withdrawal. Strike on January 14.
The seven environmental activists, who are accused of responding violently against the authority, were arrested on Nov. 28, five days after a rally that took place outside the Robert Shopping Center in west-central Martinique.
While they were attending the judicial hearing, social protest increased as the police tried to violently disperse the crowd, which responded by throwing stones and bottles.
Incidents continued until late Monday night as the population took to the streets to set burning barriers.
The anti-Kepone activists' lawyers commented that if the people's mobilization became intense, it was because the demonstrators were denied access to the public hearing.