SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Dozens of anti-vaccination protesters in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe attacked a hospital director and other medical staff following recent violent demonstrations against vaccines and COVID-19 restrictions, officials said Wednesday.
The attack occurred Tuesday outside the University Hospital Center as police tried to escort the director and other staff elsewhere for safety. The hospital said the director briefly lost consciousness and that the crowd ripped the clothes of the deputy general director and threw urine at both. The car of an executive assistant also was seriously damaged, officials said.
A health workers’ union that organized Tuesday’s demonstration and previous ones that turned violent to protest vaccine requirements and other measures told local media that members are seeking to recover lost wages after being suspended for refusing to become vaccinated as required by law.
Guadeloupe’s prefect, Alexandre Rochatte, condemned the attacks and said the government will prosecute those responsible.
“These deliberate abuses are unacceptable and intolerable,” he said in a statement.
The island of some 400,000 people has one of the lowest vaccination rates in France, and many oppose France’s COVID-19 health pass, which is required to enter food establishments, cultural venues and sport arenas, and for long-distance travel.