Young leaders have been severely beaten by dozens of policemen. Some 200 demonstrators have been dispersed by force and 30 were arrested for further investigation. One leader was beaten so severely he remains in coma. Protesters collectively chanted their slogans, calling for justice, freedom and urgent social reforms.
The mayor of the city of Awjeft, Mohamed El Moctar Ould Ehmeyen Amar, resigned from the ruling party to politically support what he called ’the just cause of youngsters’. The government has failed in meeting youth legitimate demands as it has opted for oppression in uncivilized manner” , the mayor told RNW.
A leader of the ‘Initiative Challenge Youth’, Cheikh Ould Haroune, told RNW that one officer has asked them to stop demonstrating because the government was already listening to their demands. “But when they saw that the number of protesters had doubled in two weeks, they decided to silence us by force.”
“It was a choking experience to be oppressed for a peaceful protest. We’re just exercising our constitutional rights. It seems that we have gone too far to get our voiceless voice heard which made the regime decide to react violently”, added Cheikh.
Speaker of the youth initiative Ahmed Salem Ould Zouber said the protesters came from all social walks, requesting their rights as young citizens and dreaming of better a life since their first protests of February 25.
“We are peaceful demonstrators but it is the policemen who are not peaceful at all. We will continue our protests until our demands are satisfied, otherwise we will definitely come up with different strategy in due time”, Ahmed Salem told RNW.
The protesters coordinated their demonstration without the help of political parties or trade unions. They repeated that Mauritania’s stagnant situation is motivation enough for all kind of protest.
This is the first time Mauritanian authorities used force to oppress demonstrations before the protests got out of control.