Mauritanian Police Clamps Down on Black Protest

On May 4, 2014, Mauritanian police broke up  [ar] a massive gathering in Nouakchott. People were commemorating [ar] the return of a group of Mauritanian blacks [ar] from Senegal in 2008 [en] , after being subjected to forced displacement in the aftermath of the bloody events [en] which occurred between 1989 and 1991. 

On April 29, protesters marched from 400 on feet from the southern city of Bougi. It took them a couple of days before reaching the Mauritanian Capital. 

These former refugees demand the implementation of the tripartite agreement signed in 2007 [en], between Mauritania, Senegal and the UN Refugee Agency regarding their situation.  They also want their citizenship papers [en]. They are asking for employment in the agency handling their affairs and the integration of their youth in the country's economic life.

The blog “Free Opinion” slams the way the government is dealing with those people [ar]:

خرجت مسيرة العائدين إذا وقطعت هذه المسافة  الطويلة (حوالى 400 كلم)  سيرا على الأقدام  تطالب بحقوق مشروعة لهم كموريتانيين ظلموا  في فترة من الفترات، ظانين أن النظام العسكري  سيلبي تلك الحقوق، إنها فقط تصحيح الأوراق  المدنية وحق التشغيل وتصحيح وضعيات  الموظفين المفصولين، لكن الشرطة والقنابل  المسيلة للدموع كانت بإستقبالهم بعد أن عجزت  عن ثنيهم للعودة من حيث أتو، هذا التعامل الفج  ينم عن ضعف وعنصرية من النظام العسكري  تجاه قضية ستظل تنخر جسد الدولة الموريتانية إذا لم يوجد لها حل وافي وسريع، ولكن يبدو أن هذ التعامل لا ينم عن سعي لحل إحدى أكبر المشاكل التي تعانيها موريتانيا.  

The march of the returnees kicked off and they crossed that long distance (around 400 km) on foot, demanding their legitimate rights as Mauritanians who were persecuted at some point. They marched thinking that the military regime will satisfy these rights; i.e the right to correct their citizenship papers, access to employment and settling the conditions of fired employees. But they were welcomed with police and teargas shells, after they (authorities) failed to dissuade them from returning to where they came from.  This crude treatment emanates from weakness and racism of the military regime towards an issue which will continue to eat into the Mauritanian state body, unless a prompt and proper solution is found. But it seems that this treatment doesn't emanate from an attempt to solve one of the biggest problems which Mauritania suffers from.

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