France imposes curfew on minors in ‘cutthroat’ Guadeloupe city

Pointe-à-Pitre, FRANCE – France on Thursday ordered a two-month nighttime curfew for minors in a Guadeloupe city after a surge in youth violence in the overseas territory.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced the 8.00 pm curfew in the economic capital of Pointe-a-Pitre as part of efforts to tackle crime on the Caribbean island, one of France’s many overseas territories spanning the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

Located more than 7,000 kilometres (4,350 miles) from mainland France, Guadeloupe has six times more homicides and 20 times more armed robberies than the national average, according to local authorities.

And youth are increasingly involved, said Pointe-a-Pitre mayor Harry Durimel, who described the city as “cutthroat” at the end of March.

“Minors previously made up 12 percent of those who committed crimes, but now they account for 38 percent,” Durimel said.

The curfew will begin next week and applies to anyone under 18, said Darmanin.

“We can’t let 12, 13, 14-year-olds with weapons roam the streets at 10:00 pm, attacking police officers, tourists and passers-by,” he said. 

Darmanin announced other measures including increased video surveillance to tackle drugs and street weapons, which he called “without a doubt the main problem facing Guadeloupe today”. 

Point-a-Pitre’s mayor said he hoped the curfew would help to improve security in the city.

“If children are at their parents’ at night, they’re not going to burn 70 garbage cans like they did in Pointe-a-Pitre last week,” said Durimel. –AFP