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The leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is hurt during a protest against vaccine rules.

The leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is hurt during a protest against vaccine rules.
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The leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is hurt during a protest against vaccine rules.

The leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is hurt during a protest against vaccine rules.

The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was hospitalized Thursday after being hit in the head by a projectile during a protest against the Covid vaccine legislation in the Caribbean island nation.

Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves was “physically assaulted and injured by opposition protesters” and “is recovering under the care of hospital staff” in the capital, Kingstown, according to a statement from his office.

His son Camilio, who is also finance minister, later told parliament that Mr Gonsalves would be flown to Barbados for an MRI.

Protesters surrounded Mr Gonsalves’ car as he arrived in Parliament, where lawmakers were scheduled to debate a health bill that would require frontline public sector workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Some unions and other groups opposed the bill, arguing that it violates workers’ rights.

When around 200 protesters blocked his car, Mr Gonsalves, 74, got out and attempted to enter the building on foot, according to a statement from his office. Then someone in the crowd threw an object that hit them just above the temple. Photos showed Mr. Gonsalves being taken away, his shirt bloody and paper towels pressed to his head.

“The Prime Minister is bleeding,” said a journalist in a video taken at the scene. “Someone just smashed the Prime Minister’s head with a stone.”

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a chain of picturesque islands with a population of around 110,000, has had relatively few cases of the coronavirus, but the pandemic has decimated its tourism industry. According to data from the New York Times, about 9% of the nation’s residents are fully immunized.

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