January 26, 2022

In Fort-de-France, “as soon as night falls, it’s as if it became another island”

The sun is starting to decline, and Marguerite Lagier, 43, hurries on the sidewalk of the Batelière district, this Saturday, November 26. With a delicate gesture, she lifts her white guipure skirt to step over a heap of charred scrap that still obstructs this crossroads of Schœlcher, a town in the western suburbs of Fort-de-France. The day before, the nursery assistant – “Blood for Martinican blood”, as she likes to describe herself – hasn’t slept all night. From her apartment in the city of Ozanam, she heard throughout the night the theft of helicopters and the shooting of the police who, since Thursday, have been trying to enforce the strict curfew put in place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. to stop the violence that accompanies the social movement that began on the island on November 22, in the wake of the one that was created in Guadeloupe.

“As soon as night falls, it’s as if it became another island”, says Marguerite Lagier by entering the queue of a bakery which is already starting to lower the curtain. The woman in front of her, at least twenty years her senior, turns abruptly. “They attacked La Poste in Godissard with a tractor, then they burned everything. No, but where are we? “, she protests, before embarking on an extended tchip, that sound of disapproval so characteristic of the West Indies, the duration of which is proportional to the annoyance of its speaker.

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Marguerite Lagier rolls her eyes. “These are two sides of the same coin. One is beautiful, alive, full of positivity, and the other is so dark and angry. It is this mixture of the two, Martinique ”, recognizes this divorced mother, who leaves with three chopsticks under her arm … and “A lot of concern for the future”.

“What am I going to tell the children in my care?” Yesterday there was one who asked me why I scold him when he bangs his boyfriend when everyone is banging everyone. We are not setting a good example. “

“A Martinican” Black Friday “”

A few kilometers away, in the center of Fort-de-France, near the vegetable market on rue du Pavé, the atmosphere is nevertheless so calm that you would doubt it would be Saturday. “All the roadblocks on the roundabouts were emptied”, says Didier Cavalier behind his stall. The previous days, the seller, who “In principle supports mobilizations”, but not participating, had taken up to two hours to reach his location from his residence in Lamentin, only twelve kilometers away. His only fear? The tank of his car, which reached the “Fateful last quarter”. “That means already finding a station where there is gasoline, then standing in line for hours… We have to understand, when we hear the word“ shortage ”, we panic. But the word “shortage” is pronounced here as soon as five young people stand in front of a truck… ”, he annoys.

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