Mauritanian police clashed with protestors demanding political, economic and social reforms on Tuesday (March 8th) in Bloc Square at the centre of Nouakchott. The demonstration, which was organised by the February 25th Youth Co-ordination group, left at least 18 people hospitalised.
“As young people, we have organised three festivals in Bloc Square, which we have chosen to be the starting point for the movement of youth calling for immediate political, economic and social reforms,” youth activist Mohamed Ould Ahmed told Magharebia.
“We have noticed that many young people joined us. And we have decided to demonstrate on every Tuesday and Friday of each week. The regime noticed that our number is increasing day after day, which led them to use force against us,” he said.
Ould Ahmed said he was injured in his leg and face after “police attacked the young people with unseen brutality and we could not believe what happened.” Several people were arrested.
He told Magharebia: “They were hitting us directly with tear gas bombs and beating us with sticks in the sensitive parts of our bodies. They hit me personally on the head and beat me till I almost lost consciousness.”
“The police should know that their crimes against the peaceful demonstrators have been recorded and will soon be published on Facebook to be viewed by the national and international public,” the activist added.
“The protest will continue until the demands of the youth are met,” Ould Ahmed concluded.
The protests organisers issued a statement saying they were shocked at the “brutality” of the police action against what they described as “peaceful demonstrators”, adding that they sought reform and an end to corruption.