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Guadeloupe tourists urged to stay in their hotel rooms  Feb 23, 2009

Tourists visiting the French island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean are being told to stay in their hotels as protests in the streets increase and roads to the airport have been blocked.

Thousands of holidaymakers are trying to leave the island, which is experiencing increasing violence as the cost of living soars.

Guadeloupe police report that they continue to escort tourists in coaches to the main airport on the island, using their armoured vehicles to break through the roadblocks erected by protesters.

Police are advising others to stay in their hotels and not wander around the streets where demonstrators are escalating their protests into battles with riot police.

A spokesman for the Guadeloupe police commented: “It is very frightening for them. They came here for a holiday and not step into a war zone.”

He added: “There is extra security at all hotels and we have assured tourists they will be safe there until we can escort safely to the airport. The protesters have nothing against them – tourism is the lifeblood of the island’s economy.”

Jeanette Mourier, a Guadeloupe tourism official, said: “We have mainly British, French and American tourists here. Future bookings have also dropped off. This violence is doing nothing for our economy.”

Guadeloupe tourists urged to stay in their hotel rooms
French police deploy on a road blocked by burning cars in Pointe-a-Pitre / Image via AFP

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