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Thousands in Mauritanian anti-regime protest

Supporters of the Mauritanian political opposition take part in a demonstration march on May 2 (© 2009 AFP)

Thousands of Mauritanian opposition activists staged a march and sit-down protest in Nouakchott Wednesday evening, calling for former coup leader President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to step down.

The turnout was larger than on May 2, when the demonstrators tried to occupy a square in the centre of the capital before being dispersed by security forces.

At a meeting before the march, opposition leader Moustapha Ould Bedredine warned demonstrators they could expect more of the same.

“We know that the regime is again going to resort to repression, but we will resist peacefully,” he said.

A police spokesman said that a march and rally had been authorised, but not a sit-in.

Mauritania’s opposition considers Aziz’s administration to be a military regime. 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.

Signature : NOUAKCHOTT (AFP)

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