Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/15 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/16 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/16 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/15 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/13 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/15 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Americas

Macron talks tough in impoverished French Guiana

media Emmanuel Macron after arriving in the Guiana town of Maripasoula on Thursday Reuters/Alain Jocard/Pool

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday promised that the previous government's promises to the impoverished territory of Guiana will be kept, after angering some local representatives with a declaration that "I am not Father Christmas" when he touched down there the day before.

There were several hours of clashes between police and demonstrators on Thursday night, with five people arrested and two police officers suffering minor injuries.

The 1,000-strong protest was called by two campaign groups, Pou Lagwiyann dekole (Let Guiana Take Off) and 500 Frères (500 brothers), which led protests during this year's presidential election calling for more resources for the 83,000m² territory.

Back then the outgoing Socialist government agreed to an emergency package of one billion euros and gave a commitment in principle that the state would pay another 2.1 billion euros over an unspecified time frame.

Not Father Christmas

Macron sent out a negative message on arrival, declaring "I am not Father Christmas because the Guianese are not children."

On Friday he told a press conference that the "state's word will be kept" and that the first parts of the agreement would be honoured, promising to speed up the strengthening of the local police force to tackle a murder rate 10 times as high as that of mainland France, as well as tackling undocumented immigration and illegal gold panning.

But he only promised that the pledge of 2.1 billion euros would be examined, adding that "the role of the state is not to keep unrealistic commitments and not to give into pressure of any sort, in particular when it does not have the democratic legitimacy that is vested in elected representatives".

One of those representatives, David Riché reacted angrily to Macron's first statement on French radio.

"We don't need Father Christmas, we need a government that realises that nothing is working in Guiana," said Riché, who heads the local mayors' association.

He went on to express doubts that the whole of the 2.1 billion euros will be paid.

Local people want action to tackle poverty, 23 percent unemployment, poor education and health facilities and poor infrastructure.

Poverty beside space centre

Many towns lack electricity and running water in a territory that houses the Kourou Space Centre, from which European rockets are often launched.

Macron, who was to visit the centre along with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, stressed that the government is investing 50 million euros a year in education over the next five years.

Further demonstrations were planned for Friday morning.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.