St Vincent and the Grenadines leader hit during anti-vaccine mandate protest

Ralph Gonsalves, his shirt covered in blood, is evacuated after being hit in the head by a stone

The prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines has been hospitalized after being injured at a protest against a proposed vaccine mandate.

Ralph Gonsalves was walking through a crowd outside parliament when he was reportedly hit in the head by a stone.

Images show the prime minister bleeding as he was rushed away from the scene.

The finance minister said he had been transferred to Barbados for an MRI scan on the advice of medical staff, Reuters news agency reports.

Protesters had gathered on Thursday to demonstrate against plans to require most frontline health workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Stones and water bottles were thrown at the protest, according to reports.

His office told Reuters the 74-year-old was hit by a “projectile”. Local media suggest it was a stone.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, which lies in the south Caribbean, is made up of more than 32 islands.

The country has recorded 2,298 coronavirus cases and 12 deaths since the pandemic began, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Almost 9% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the university says.

Its tourism industry has been badly impacted by the pandemic, and thousands of people were forced to leave their homes following a volcanic eruption in April.

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