Riots After Reggae Singer Dies in Jail!

Riots After Reggae Singer Dies in Jail!
Posted by FoM on February 22, 1999 at 08:07:11 PT

PORT LOUIS Around 2,000 protesters in Mauritius clashed with police after a local reggae singer arrested for smoking marijuana died in police custody, reports said on Monday. 
Joseph Reginald Topize -- or Kaya -- died in jail on Sunday three days after his arrest for smoking marijuana at a rally to decriminalise the drug in the Indian Ocean nation. Hundreds of Kaya's fans armed with sticks and stones went on the rampage when they heard of his death, ransacking three police stations in poor parts of the island, according to the private L'Express newspaper. Fans and supporters of the small Republican Movement party, which organised last Tuesday's rally, smashed two police cars and clashed with police, who used tear gas. Around 1,500 also blocked the main highway linking the capital with the north of the island. The road remained blocked on Monday morning around the slum area of Roche-Bois with protesters facing armed police. L'Express reported that police doctor Baboo Harish Surnam, who conducted Kaya's autopsy, said the 39-year-old rastafarian singer died of a fractured skull. Police denied this and promised a second autopsy. Supporters of Kaya, who mixed reggae and local sega music, claimed he was a victim of police brutality. ``Each time there is a death in prison, it's always someone from the Creole community,'' Georges Christophe, leader of an Afro-Creole organisation. ``Enough is enough.'' Creoles, the mixed blood descendants of former slaves, account for up to 30 percent of the population of the island and are seen as an under-privileged community. 
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