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French Guiana paralyzed, tensions mount, Air France cancels all flights

Staff Writer |
French Guiana came to a standstill on the eve of a major strike in the territory with about 250,000 inhabitants that relies on huge injections of public funds.

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Air France canceled all flights to the South American territory for Sunday and Monday, when 37 labour unions were to launch a general strike demanding a "Marshall Plan" to improve public services and security, France 24 reports.

Barricades have been erected on roads since last week, and the US State Department has warned travellers to stay away, citing the risk of violence.

The protests also led to the indefinite postponement of an Arianespace rocket launch at Europe's Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.

The French government has sent a delegation to negotiate with the strikers, asking them to lay out their demands.

But 13 of the territory's 22 mayors have refused to meet the delegation, demanding along with the strikers that French ministers come in person.

"This has gone on long enough! All we have is plundered, it's time to recognise the people of Guiana," a woman at the barricade blocking access to the airport at Cayenne, the capital, told AFP on Sunday.

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