Rebellion in Trinidad 1970

[ 1970 ]

Deteriorating social and economic conditions on the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago gave rise to much popular unrest, especially between the blacks (about 43 percent of the population) and the East Indians (about 40 percent). After a series of demonstrations led by black power leaders, who demanded government action to solve problems, including unemployment, the governor-general in the capital of Port-of-Spain declared a state of emergency, banned further protests, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew , censored the press, and arrested several black leaders. Widespread rioting and violence erupted throughout the islands; simultaneously several hundred army troops mutinied in support of black power rioters, seized the arsenal, and held hostages. The islands' government asked for and received arms and ammunition from the United States, and US and British naval vessels steamed to the area "to stand by." By April 25, 1970, about five days after the start of the riots and army mutiny, loyal government forces suppressed the rebels. Further harsh measures were imposed to limit personal freedom and political activity. A state of emergency lasted until July 1972, at which time political prisoners were released; a month later imprisoned soldiers who had participated in the mutiny were freed.

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