President Emmanuel Macron will visit the French overseas department of French Guiana from Thursday, October 26, until Saturday, October 28. Due to ongoing tensions in the department stemming from various longstanding socioeconomic and security related grievances - and a general feeling that the department has been largely ignored by the central government in Paris - protests are to be anticipated. The Pou Lagwiyann dékolé civic group has announced plans for a demonstration in the departmental capital Cayenne on Wednesday, October 25, as well as a march in the city on Thursday. Protests are also likely in other areas on Macron’s itinerary, notably Kourou and Maripasoula. Clashes and other forms of violence cannot be ruled out.
The department is grappling with various issues - including mass illegal migration from Brazil, Suriname, and Haiti, rising crime rates, deficient social and health services and schools, and high rates of unemployment (23 percent). These issues fueled a general strike that paralyzed the department for nearly five weeks in March-April 2017.
Individuals in French Guiana are advised to keep abreast of the situation and avoid all protests due to the potential for violence.
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