April 1, 2017 / 6:36 PM / 3 years ago

France offers 1 billion euros in aid to French Guiana

PARIS (Reuters) - France offered one billion euros ($1.06 billion) in aid for French Guiana on Saturday after protests swept the French territory in South America in recent days, an official from the Ministry for France’s overseas territories said on Saturday.

The plan entails sending extra police forces, creating a tribunal and a jail.

“The plan was presented this morning to partners and they must now give their response,” the official told Reuters.

Interior Minister Matthias Fekl and Ericka Bareigts, minister for France’s overseas territories, were dispatched to French Guiana by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve earlier this week to find a solution to local demands.

French Guiana has been swept by social unrest in recent days, with protests and a general strike, less than a month before France holds presidential elections.

The movement began with demands for greater security against crime - French Guiana is the French department with the highest murder rate - but also reflects a deeper malaise in the territory which suffers from high unemployment.

Labor protests in the overseas French department bordering Brazil and Suriname have also caused the indefinite postponement of the planned launch of an Ariane 5 rocket carrying communications satellites for Brazil and South Korea.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau , Writing by Dominique Vidalon

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