The strike at Arianespace’s Kourou spaceport in French Guiana has become even more bitter. Demonstrators gained access to a – normally – highly secure suite of offices and occupied the space centre’s main conference room, and refused to quit.
Moreover, the space centre’s director Guillaume Faure, could not muster up enough police to evict the 30 or so protesters. Local images show riot ‘police’ protecting the main gate. The French authorities also have units of the Foreign Legion standing by in French Guiana.
“We won’t move. The situation is stuck and Guiana is blocked. You are blocked. We want the billions we have asked for,” protest leader Manuel Jean-Baptiste told the director of the space centre, according to local reports. Another report quotes a protester saying: “As long as our demands are not met your rockets will not launch”.
The strike has now been in force since March 20, and badly damaging Arianespace’s launch schedule.