Tens of thousands answered the call to join the Coordination of Democratic Opposition parties in Mauritania on 23 June, for the “biggest ever” anti-regime protest gathering. This was no small feat considering Spain were playing France in the Euro 2012 soccer championships! As it turned out, the boys in blue didn’t put on much of a show, while crowds of up to 60,000 marched in Nouakchott, thousands more in the economic capital of Nouadhibou and a sizeable crowd was also reported in the Western basin, for a local protest against the continued lack of water.
Ely Ould Mohammed Vall once again joined the party leaders. Each takes their turn to speak, as has become their habit; it does make for a long day. People began to gather around 5pm, marched to Ibn Abbass mosque and stopped to pray – an impressive sight – before the rally continued. By around 1am the event drew to a close. During the speeches someone posted that a few pro-regime youth were driving up and down Gamal Abdel Nasser street where the mosque is located, chanting slogans in support of Aziz.
Here’s a collection of images from friends on FaceBook and Twitter
We had been promised a special treat this evening, the screening of an exclusive clandestine video said to show president Aziz discussing business dealing with “foreign” associates. But as the rally drew to a close there was no sign of the promised film footage. Many are now left wondering what prompted this change of heart. Cold feet? Doubts about the integrity of the video? Was it perhaps handed to them by regime loyalists hoping to trap them into making quite serious but false accusations? Mauritania is a close-knit society with a fine tradition of sharing confidences over a glass of tea or three, so I am anticipating the answer will not be long in coming. 😉 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVTs1qGGApQ]
Video from “Latest Network News”