Photo Gallery: Police attack peaceful Mauritania election protest

21 November m25fev, Youth Boycotters, TPMN joint protest 04
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21 November Update: The joint march of youth groups against the elections was again repressed by police but not as violently as on Monday, as these new photos show:

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Police violently suppressed a peaceful protest outside Mauritania’s Election Commission Monday 18 November 2013. The gathering was attended by more than 100 youth from the m25fev movement, COD opposition youth, and the recently formed election boycott protest movement Many of those injured were young women, and several casualties were taken to hospital with wounds from direct impact of tear gas canisters or having lost consciousness after being overcome by the effects of tear gas.

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Nana Mint Cheikhna Mint Mohamed Laghdaf, MP and member of the RFD party

Nana Mint Cheikhna Mint Mohamed Laghdaf, MP and member of the RFD party

#Mauritania Police Cause Another Death with Tear Gas

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Local new site Essirage reports that an expectant mother  was overcome by tear gas while shopping in an area where police were firing tear gas to disperse anti-slavery demonstrators. The woman was taken to hospital shortly after the incident, when she noticed the baby had stopped moving. A scan just 3 days earlier had shown the child, in its third trimester, was healthy and developing normally. Doctors delivered the child as a still birth. The bereaved parents are in shock and distraught at the loss of their  child.

This is not the first reported case of foetal death caused by indiscriminate tear gas use by Mauritania police in recent months, more than one female student has miscarried as a result of the ongoing crackdown. This tragic news also comes close behind the death of a young shopkeeper from tear gas asphyxiation by the deadly chemicals used by police to quell unarmed peaceful demonstrators on 9 June. Activists have retrieved spent tear gas canisters clearly showing some of the cartridges were past their use-by date. It is suspected that the regime buys the expired gas from neighbouring countries in a sort of black market for cheaper expired munitions. Whether buying it direct or through a third party, we do know that the tear gas is made by Nobel Industries of France.

9 Jun 2012 Police Tear Gas Kills Young Shopkeeper

Thousands at #Mauritania sit-in attacked and dispersed by police

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Photo: Mauritanie Demain

Mauritania’s first mass sit-in arranged by the coordinated opposition parties, activist and community groups following the successful mass march and rally on Wednesday was violently dispersed by combined security forces at 3am on 3 May 2012. After cutting off electricity and barricading the area around the sit-in with road blocks and a convoy of about 30 vehicles, a barrage of tear gas, sound grenades and water cannon rained down on the camp.

Police then attacked and beat protesters as they tried to escape. Scores of people were injured and dozens arrested in clashes that continued for over two hours. The injured included the leader of one of the opposition parties; the director of another opposition leader, Ould Daddah’s office; independent radio journalists;  a pregnant woman who was overcome by tear gas and developed severe breathing diffculties; and a youth with internal bleeding. The police confiscated bedding, electronics, and provisions from the camp site, and were later seen dividing up the food and drink between themselves. Whatever police couldn’t remove easily – such as tables, chairs and toilet facilities – they destroyed.

There are reports that president Aziz and a security detail of the presidential guard were spotted in the vicinity while the attacks were in progress, indicating that he was personally supervising the raid. The Council of Ministers met at the presidential palace later this morning, while police launched a fresh attack on the university, arresting several students. After the Council meeting, there was no mention in the official statement regarding the massive protest or the attack.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6_Xb5RnyTM]

Update: Seems AlJazeera’s crew were on hand and filmed the attack

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbUGNRi4Wck]

#Mauritania Police Attack Students on 25 April “Day of Rage”

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Day of Rage Poster

One of the detained student protest leaders

The UNEM union of Mauritanian university students took it upon themselves to stage a “Day of Rage” (or Anger, Wrath, etc, as you prefer) on this first anniversary of the massive protest that took place in Nouakchott in 2011. The day began with a mass walk-out of students starting at 10am, when they gathered in the quad of the law school, chanting against the militarization of the university.

Police surrounded the campus, showering students with volleys of percussion and tear gas grenades and then stormed the area, arresting three student leaders and forcing the protesters out. As the protest left the campus, there were several clashes between students and police near the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, at the Ministry of Education and at the Regional Security HQ. A taxi driver outside the Ministry of Justice was seriously injured after a direct hit from a gas grenade which struck him after shattering the side window of his vehicle. He was transferred to hospital unconscious and bleeding profusely.Among several reports of police brutality, injuries and arrests, was news of two students from the faculty of arts being taken by police to an unknown destination. They are still unaccounted for.

 

Student Union Joint Protest 24 April 2012

There was also a joint protestyesterday by several student bodies against the politicisation of university life and union actions, with a general appeal to keep politics out of student protests.

 

 

 

 

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Calm returns to #SierraLeone mine after 3 die in violence

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Image: Mining Journal

Calm has returned to Sierra Leone’s northern mining city of Bunbuna, following a violent protest amidst a mine workers strike, which left three people dead and at least eight others injured on Wednesday.

Initial report said a woman was shot dead on Wednesday in Sierra Leone after a protest by miners at an iron mine owned by London-based African Minterals turned violent, with police firing tear gas, police said.

Assistant police superintendent Ibrahim Samura denied reports on local radio that the police had fired on the crowd in a bid to disperse the protesters at the Bumbuna mine 160 miles (256 km) north of the capital.

“The strikers were trying to disarm one of the armed police when his gun went off accidentally and the stray shot hit the woman who was in her compound.

“As far as we are concerned, the police only fired teargas canisters to quell the rampaging strikers to prevent them from advancing into a fuel depot where over six large containers are located. If this had been set on fire, it could have spelled disaster for the area.”

Samura said some 26 people had been arrested.

Local media reported the woman was killed by stray police bullets which left many others wounded and that Internal Affairs Minister Musa Tarawally was would head a government investigation into the events. The death toll went up to three after the clashes between protesters and police escalated.

The striking workers downed tools two days ago calling for increased wages and better working conditions and improved medical facilities.

“We are working long hours without overtime at the mines,” one irate miner said in a telephone interview, asking not to be identified. He also claimed foreign workers received preferential salaries and treatment.

A company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the strikers had on Monday torched a jeep worth thousands of dollars.

African Minerals is one of the biggest in the iron-ore mining industry in the country whose deposit of the mineral is billed as the largest reported magnetite iron-ore deposit in the world.

In November 2011 it carried out the first iron-ore shipment from the war-torn country in 30 years.

After the situation went out of hand, police authorities are said to have sent in more reinforcement to the area to put the situation under control, as youths have reportedly gone on the rampage, blocking roads leading to the mining company’s headquarters.

WADR’s Freetown Correspondent said a high-level government delegation visited the area Wednesday night to assess the situation and hear first- hand accounts of what led to the violence there.

The delegation included the ministers of Mines, Presidential Affairs, Information and Communication, Labour and Industrial Relations.

Police have now admitted using Excessive force but say it was in self defense.

Police reinforcement was sent to the area to put the situation under control, as youths have reportedly gone on the rampage, blocking roads leading to the mining company’s headquarters.

Meanwhile, authorities have scheduled a meeting with the striking mine workers of the Bunbuna mine for next Tuesday.

Bunbuna is also home to the country’s largest hydro electric dam.

WADR’s Freetown correspondent Mohamed Konneh has been closely monitoring the situation and he reports.

Click audio below to listen

WADR / Daily Star