1968 Mauritian riots

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Location
20°09'37"S
057°30'54"E
Country
 Mauritius
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Description

The 1968 Mauritian riots refers to a number of violent clashes that occurred in the Port Louis neighbourhoods of Cité Martial and Plaine Verte in Mauritius over a period of ten days, six weeks before the country's declaration of independence on 12 March 1968. The riot was the result of communal conflict between the predominantly Christian creoles and Muslims over concerns arising from the country's future political dispensation following independence.

Riots

Political tension was high at the time due to uncertainty about the future political situation in the country after independence. With about half the country being against independence due to concerns that they might lose out in the new government. The army viewed the riot as being the result of street gang rivalries between the Istanbul Muslim gang and the rival Texas Creole gang in Port Louis that had expanded and been exacerbated by political uncertainty due to the coming declaration of independence. Another gang of Creoles called Mafia joined forces with the Texas gang. The gang clashes led to the deaths of a Muslim and a Christian which sparked a spiral of violence between the communities.Order was restored by a company of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry called in from Singapore after a state of emergency was declared by the British authorities on 22 January 1968 and lasted for ten days. In their effort to restore order the British deployed three Bell H-13 Sioux helicopters and around 150 troops. Violence was contained to the urban areas of Port Louis and did not spread to the rest of the island.At least 29 people died before British troops and Mauritian police quelled the fighting. Prior to the riots the neighbourhoods of Cité Martial and Plaine Verte had been ethnically mixed areas for over a hundred years. The riots resulted in the two communities becoming ethnically heterogeneous communities.The 1968 riots were the worst period of social turmoil in Mauritius since the Uba riots of 1937.
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