Several people were hurt and arrested in Mauritania on Friday as police fired tear gas and beat back protesters demanding that President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz step down in a fresh anti-regime protest, an AFP journalist witnessed.
The protest began in downtown Nouakchott after Friday prayers in the majority Muslim country, and follows a similar protest on Thursday and others in recent weeks as opposition discontent with Abdel Aziz' regime grows.
"Free Mauritania, out with the soldiers," "Down with the military regime" shouted protesters referring to the presidents military past.
The former general took part in a 2005 coup and another in 2008, which saw him seize power.
He became the president of a transitional authority, from which he resigned to contest and win 2009 elections, a move condemned as a trick by the opposition.
"Several people are injured, and others have been arrested, including the president of the Tewassoul (moderate Islam) party Ahmed Jiddou Ould Ahmed Bahiya," said a spokesman for the protesters, without giving more details.
On Thursday a march organised by the Coordination of a Democratic Opposition (COD) coalition was similarly dispersed.
The COD has accused Abdel Aziz of despotism and mismanagement.
COD lawmaker Moustapha Ould Bedredine said the president had "turned his back" on commitments made in the so-called Dakar accords which led to his election in 2009, a year after he seized power in a coup d'etat.
"Having refused inclusive dialogue stipulated in this agreement and chosen the route of despotism and of a reign without sharing, the only path left to us is removing the regime peacefully, via an agreed transition."
Supporters of the president such as ruling party lawmaker Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham insist that "only the ballot box and democracy will decide", accusing the opposition of driving the west African nation into chaos.
Source: AFP Global Edition