Thousands answered the call to protest against president Aziz in Mauritania again today. As usual, there were reports of pro-regime thugs trying to disrupt the marchers, and party loyalists making statements and issuing veiled threats in an attempt to dissuade people fro joining in.
Also in Nouakchott, journalists gathered outside the office of the Director General of Security and issued a statement condemning the abuse directed towards members of their profession by police. Recent assaults include one against the editor of the French language independent Mauritanian news website fr.AlAkhbar.info, who was battered and detained by police while covering a protest a few days ago.
In the morning, police attacked another protest at the University, arresting a student leader.
Reports of insulting and sarcastic remarks made last weekend by president Aziz, who opined that the press in Mauritania are unkempt and drive around in dilapidated vehicles, and that this situation explains their demands for change, will not have helped matters. Aziz apparently shared this opinion after spending time with invited journalists from French media, who put together a set-piece interview in the lush grounds of the Presidential Palace complete with date palms, manicured lawns, and fountains playing in the background.
Transport drivers who ferry goods between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott took protest action against restrictive regulations by blocking the roads this morning.