Middle East Online
Mauritanian youths rally against government Youths stage ‘Day of Anger’ in Nouakchott to demand ouster of Abdel Aziz regime.
NOUAKCHOTT – Mauritanian youths staged a mass “Day of Anger” in the capital Monday, demanding the ouster of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as the tide of Arab uprisings swept to the west of Africa.”
The people want the departure of the regime,” hundreds chanted in downtown Nouakchott, waving the Mauritanian flag and banners stressing the peaceful nature of their protest.
The “Youth of February 25” group, named after the day of their first anti-government protest, which was quashed by police, was on Monday prevented by security forces from entering a central square.
In a bid to avoid confrontation, the demonstrators instead demonstrated in nearby streets, interrupting traffic on the main artery to the city centre.
The rally, which had been arranged via Facebook, was targeted against one of the youngest Arab regimes. Abdel Aziz won a disputed election in July 2009 in the wake of an army coup.
Police had clamped down on protests since they began on February 25, and organisers of Monday’s rally said they had been warned “to expect the worst”.
Opposition MPS have said in a statement they would join the protesters in case the police intervened.
The protesters were for the first time joined by young female supporters of opposition parties, whose spokeswoman, Fatimettou Mint Ahmed said they wanted to highlight the “corrupt” nature of the sitting government. The government “is responsible for a real threat to the unity of our people,” she said.
Mauritania, which neighbours Algeria, is the most westerly member of the Arab League.