Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mauritania: Opposition boycotts independence celebrations

The COD boycotted the 52nd anniversary celebrations of Mauritania's independence from France on Wednesday 28 November, and instead protested against President Abdel Aziz's regime. The opposition group issued a statement saying they were "refus[ing] to take part in a ceremony attended by the president", whose resignation they have demanded in regular protests since 2011. The COD attempted to hold a parallel celebration but couldn't get authorisation.

The alternative 'independence anniversary celebration' planned by the COD for Wednesday 5 December was blocked by the security forces. Despite having obtained permission to hold a demonstration in Place Ibn Abbass, it was stopped by the police who blocked off the square prior to the arrival of the demonstrators. It is believed they feared the COD was planning a 'sit-in' although the latter claimed that their planned use of tents was merely to give shelter from the cold. The demonstrators withdrew peacefully.

Nevertheless, with the president again out of the country, the COD launched another attack on him, accusing him of “misrepresenting the facts” with regard to almost everything about his government.

For more news and expert analysis about Mauritania, please see Mauritania Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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