Musicians entertained people with traditional songs as they gathered for another massive rally in Nouakchott on the evening of Tuesday,18 December 2012.
Demonstrators chanted slogans demanding the departure of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and that the military quit its involvement in politics.
Opposition leaders addressed tens of thousands in the yard of Ibn Abbas mosque, at the Festival entitled “Promise of Victory”.
Ahmed Ould Daddah, arguably the most eminent statesman in the opposition coalition line-up, gave a stirring speech invoking hope for the future, and ambition to restore the pride and dignity of the country. Ould Daddah also gave a stern warning against any military intervention in Mali, including providing logistical support, highlighting concern that any involvement would reflect negatively on security and stability for Mauritania. Being committed to fight terrorism, he argued, does not mean engaging in activities that are against the interests of the nation. The real enemies, he added, are ignorance, poverty, hunger and internal strife.
In conclusion, he wished Ould Abdel Aziz a speedy recovery, stressing that he bears him no personal malice, despite his unsuitability for leadership.
In other news, Mauritania’s second president, Mustafa Ould Salek, died in a Paris hospital on Tuesday 18 December, aged 86. Ould Salek was the pioneer of Mauritania’s enduring tradition of coups d’etat: he seized power from President Mokhtar Ould Daddah in February 1978. Given that the Election Commission – despite a recent statement promising to set a date – admitted that they are still not in a position to stage the much-delayed elections, it seems there is little chance of Mauritania outgrowing Ould Salek’s legacy in the foreseeable future.
Photos: Latest News Network.
20 Dec Update: Another video from @jnsRFD shows the true extent of the attendance at the festival, being reported rather grudgingly by some media as “hundreds of supporters”.
In a further, related move, authorities have withdrawn approval for the youth section of the opposition to hold a meeting in the Old Youth House. The youth say they are determined to go ahead with their plans regardless.