1968 Mauritian riots

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1968 Mauritian riots
Date22 January 1968 (1968-01-22)
Plaine Verte & Cité Martial , Port Louis

20°09′37″S 57°30′54″E / 20.16028°S 57.51500°E / -20.16028; 57.51500Coordinates: 20°09′37″S 57°30′54″E / 20.16028°S 57.51500°E / -20.16028; 57.51500
Caused byEthnic tension
Declaration of independence
MethodsRace riots, looting, protests, street fights
Resulted inAt least 25 dead
Hundreds injured
Thousands driven from their homes

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.[1]


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 loose out in the new government.[2][3] 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. The gang clashes led to the deaths of a Muslim and a Christian which sparked a spiral of violence in the communities.[3]

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.[2][4] In their effort to restore order the British deployed three Bell H-13 Sioux helicopters and around 150 troops.[3] Violence was contained to the urban areas of Port Louis and did not spread to the rest of the island.[3]

At least 25 people died before British troops and Mauritian police quelled the fighting.[5] 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.[3]

The 1968 riots were the worst period of social turmoil in Mauritius since the Uba riots of 1937.


  1. ^ "Port Louis - Rioting against Independence at the General Elections of 1967 - Vintage Mauritius". Vintage Mauritius. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "HISTORY : Independence and post-colonial Mauritius (1968-1982) - Le Mauricien". Le Mauricien. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "An eye witness account of the 1968 riots". www.mauritiusmag.com. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ "EISA Mauritius: The road to independence (1945-1968)". www.eisa.org.za. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Mauritius - Independent Mauritius". countrystudies.us. Retrieved 15 August 2018.