France deploys security forces to Reunion Island amid protests


France has dispatched riot forces to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion to beef up its security following violent protests against the high costs of living on the island.

Protests broke out in Reunion on Tuesday after truckers staged rallies against the rise of gas prices. However, they were later joined by many more protesters, infuriated over the high costs of living in general.

Almost a third of the residents of the French island of Reunion are unemployed and over half are struggling in poverty.

Three days of clashes between the protesters and the riot police left at least nine police officers injured and several shops and public buildings damaged. At least 76 protesters were also arrested during the clashes.

On Thursday night, the clashes were slightly less violent than previous nights in the capital Saint Denis, but unrest had spread to other cities around the island.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant on Friday denounced the violence as “absolutely unacceptable.”

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