Mauritania: Pro-Democracy Protests Break Out in Nouakchott

Protests broke out in Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital today, after young people assembled themselves online to call for rallies, which demand social, political and economic reforms, and an end to Mauritania's military rule.

Up to 2,000 protesters have reportedly marched to Blockat Square, where some intend to camp, until their demands are met. Among their demands are a cap on rising costs of living and a solution to the problem of unemployment. Others spoke out against discrimination and the fall of the military rule. This youth movement follows similar movements we have been witnessing across the Arab world since the Tunisian uprising – youth assembling themselves both in real life and virtual spaces, and protesting on the streets until their demands are met.

Mauritania's protests coincide with similar youth movements in Bahrain, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen and Libya.

On a Facebook page, one of the groups calling for the protests state:

نجحت الثورة التونسية ثم الثورة المصرية بعد ذلك بفترة وجيزة فبدأت شعوب المنطقة تتطلع لغد أفضل بعد أن أصاب الإحباط كثيرا من أبنائها وبعد أن ظلت لفترة طويلة تعيش تحت وطأة الاستبداد والظلم والقهر.
نجح قبل ذلك الأتراك من خلال الأحزاب والمجتمع المدني في إنشاء اقتصاد قوي وديمقراطية وليدة استطاعوا من خلالها إبعاد العسكر عن الحكم.
وقبل الأتراك نجح الإسبان في الانتقال إلى الديمقراطية عن طريق المصالحة وقاد الملك إخوان كارلوس بنفسه عملية التحول.
هناك إذا نماذج ناجحة مختلفة لانتقال ديمقراطي : النموذج التونسي والمصري (قيد التشكل) ، النموذج التركي والنموذج الإسباني.
أنشأت هذه الصفحة لتبادل الآراء لصناعة غد أفضل لبلدنا موريتانيا.
أي النماذج السابقة أصلح لنا وأيهم بإمكانه التحقق وكيف نساهم في تحقيقه؟
بإمكانكم أيضا اقتراح نماذج أخرى والهدف هو أن نحقق الديمقراطية والعدالة في بلدنا.
ننتظر إذن مشاركاتكم جميعا مهما كان موقفكم فهنا ديمقراطيتنا هنا سنصنع دولتنا على الفيس بوك قبل أن نراها واقعا بإذن الله تعالى.
The Tunisian revolution has succeeded, followed by the Egyptian revolution, a short period of time after it. People in the region have started to aspire for a better tomorrow after they have suffered from depression after living in oppression and injustice for a long period of time.
The Turks have succeeded before them, through creating political parties and with the help of a civic society, to create a strong economy, and with their new democracy, they have been able to push the military from power.
And before the Turks, the Spaniards were able to become a democracy through reconciliation, and King Juan Carlos himself led the reforms.
There are many successful examples of a transition into democracy. The Tunisian and Egyptian models (under formation), as well as the Turkish and Spanish models.
This page has been created to exchange views for a better tomorrow for our country Mauritania.
Which of those previous models is most suitable for us and which is the one we can achieve and work on implementing?
You can also suggest other models. The goal is to achieve democracy and justice in our country.
We look forward to your participation, whatever your opinion. This is where our democracy is and this is where we will create our country – on Facebook – before we are able to see it in reality.

Their mission reads:

أن تنعم موريتانيا بالحرية والديمقراطية
For Mauritania to enjoy freedom and democracy

Although the pages has 200 likes only, the protest seems to have materialised, as young Mauritanians march towards freedom and democracy.

Here is a snap shot from what happened today from Twitter:

@NickKristof: The democracy uprising is spreading to new parts of Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Mauritania.

@Dima_Khatib: What a day ! Egypt, Tunisia, Mauritania, Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq… anywhere else? Arabs demonstrating on the streets

@Malakyz: Today made history: Protests in #Libya, #Yemen, #Egypt, #Tunisia, #Bahrain, #Morocco, #Iraq, #Palestine, #Jordan, #Mauritania. SOLIDARITY

@ZEKELMOUDEN: Now thousands of youth marching in Mauritania claiming end Aziz's junta ruling the country, better live conditions and real democraty.

Akhbar tweets (Ar):

تظاهرة شبابية في موريتانيا تخللتها دعوات لاسقاط النظام #mauritania
“A youth demonstration took place in Mauritania, with calls for the regime to fall.”

@bandolero69: The waves of protests have even spread to the impoverished state of Mauritania, where hundreds of people took to the streets of Nouakchott.

This is the spot protesters took over in Nouakchott, #Mauritania

This is the spot protesters took over in Nouakchott, #Mauritania

@mauritaniedem1: some protesters came to #blockatesquare on their feet, couz the government stopped the buses. #Mauritania #feb25

@buthaina: WhoHoo!! #Now #Mauritania! Welcome aboard #Nouakchott – #Responsible #Freedom #Democracy #Fail #Corruption

@Doylech: The main square in Nouakchott in #Mauritania now has a name yes Tahrir square

@vatyma: #Mauritania: Protesters chant “Bayteen wa mkamleen layn timshou 3ana kamleen!” (we're sleeping over and from now on until the regime leaves)

@Abdarrahmen: From Blockate square #Mauritania

@Abdarrahmen: Saket Lash ” Why you don't talk ” From Blockate square #Mauritania

@AbdallahJeilany: the protesters started built their tents and try to organize everything because they scared from thuggish to disrupt the protest #Mauritania

@mauritaniedem1: the protesters Now are more then 5000 and they r increasing. :)#Mauritania

Abdullah Jellany explains (Ar):

# Mauritania بعد نصب منصة طلب الكلام أحد الشباب وعندما صعد بدأ يشكر عزيز فأنزله بعض وضربه البعض الآخر ويبدو أن الهدف كان إثارة البلبلة
“After the platform was erected, one of the young men asked to speak and then started thanking Aziz. So some of the protesters pulled him down and others started beating him. It seems that his goal was to create disruption.”

Abdellahi2 adds (Ar):

بلطجية يعتدون على مدير مكتب الجزيرة في موريتانيا.. والمنظمون يعتذرون #Mauritanie #Mauritania #Nouakchott #Nktt #25Fev
“Thugs attack the manager of Al Jazeera office in Mauritania .. and the protest organisers apologise.”

@mauritaniedem1: some thugs were trying to beat #Aljazeera reporter Mohamed Baba Achefagha. but the protesters prevented them. #Mauritania

@AbdallahJeilany: some criminales wanted to rob a bank next Blockate but the protesters capt them and calm the situation #mauritania

@mauritaniedem1: The protesters stood up against the thuggish in #Mauritania In order to prevent them from vandalism and now the situation is fine. #’Feb17

@Abdarrahmen: One of the protesters try to burn himself at Blockat square, but finally they arresteds him #Mauritania

@: Saket Lash “Why you don't talk ” #mauritania

@Abdarrahmen: National Tv broadcasts images of the demo this day it's just like copy-paste the experiance of egypte-libya National tvs #Mauritania

@Doylech: The Mauritanian PM has promised to improve economic situation and give pieces of land to the poor following demos #mauritania

@virtualactivism: Nouachkut: ‘the people want the fall of regime’. Holy God!!! there goes #Mauritania too. I suggest Arab League disband immediately

@mauritaniedem1: My name's Freedom bornin Tunisia, raised in Egypt, studied in Yemen and #Mauritania, fought in Libya and I'll grow up in all the Arab world.

More photographs from today can be found on the protest pages on Facebook here and here.


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