Armed Men Disrupt Peace Concert in Mauritius, Catholic Bishop Condemns the “intimidation”

Bishop Jean Michaël Durhône of Port Louis Diocese in Mauritius. Credit: Port Louis Diocese

Bishop Jean Michaël Durhône of Port Louis Diocese in Mauritius has condemned the “scene of intimidation” that was witnessed at a peace concert in the Indian Ocean Island nation when armed men disrupted the planned ending of the event held at La Citadelle.

On October 21, a group of individuals armed with sticks reportedly disrupted the planned conclusion of the concert organized to celebrate 15 years of a group of hotels in favor of underprivileged children at the Port-Louis citadel, an old fort which dominates the capital of Mauritius.

According to an October 23 report, “As the concert was about to end with a song for peace, a few dozen men armed with sticks, iron bars and batons burst in, shouting slogans for Palestine.”

The armed men took over the stage, destroying the equipment, forcing spectators to flee on foot, some abandoning their cars.

In a statement issued Friday, October 27, Bishop Durhône recounts the Saturday (October 21) concert disruption, saying, “Last Sunday, Mauritius woke up shocked and outraged by what had happened the previous evening at La Citadelle during a concert to celebrate the 15th anniversary of a hotel group.”


“Artists were performing and the public had gathered to celebrate fraternity and peace. What was supposed to be a moment of unity and solidarity with the poorest turned into a scene of intimidation,” he laments.

The Catholic Church leader further says, “Following in the footsteps of the people of Mauritius, who have already spoken out, I would also like to express my sadness at the way in which this concert, which had already been approved by the police, was disrupted by a group of people.”

“In a state governed by the rule of law, in Mauritius where living together remains fragile, freedom of expression is a fundamental issue, a human right and a moral obligation as Pope Francis tells us,” Bishop Durhône says.

The Bishop of Port Louis Diocese continues, “The Mauritian artists on stage were singing of peace, and any obstacle to this freedom of expression can jeopardize social peace.”

“These artists, victims of acts of intimidation, deserve respect for their commitment to culture,” he further says.

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In his October 27 statement, the Mauritian Catholic Church leader who was ordained Bishop of Port Louis Diocese on August 20 says he welcomes “the measures taken so far by the civil authorities to restore calm and preserve the peace that is so necessary in our multicultural context.”

“I also salute the Mauritians of all communities who have expressed a message of peace and respect,” he adds.

Making reference to the Holy Father’s appeal for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the world on October 27, Bishop Durhône calls upon the people of God in the Indian Ocean Island nation “to pray for peace in our country and throughout the world.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.