Mauritania. From February until the end of April,
students and other residents held several demonstrations in
the capital Nouakchott against the government Mohamed Ould
Abdel Aziz. They demanded reforms and felt that President
Abdel Aziz had wielded too much power.
Inspired by the Arab Spring - the protests that took
place in several Arab countries - the Mauritanian people
used social media such as Facebook to inform and gather
people. On April 25, the protesters carried out what they
called a "day of anger" with protest actions in Nouakchott,
among others. Then the police fired tear gas and batons at
hundreds of young people demonstrating in the capital.
Countryaah official site, the
police arrested 22 people and prevented opposition MPs from
participating in the campaign.
From May, people from the black part of the population
demonstrated against a planned census, which they claimed to
discriminate against blacks. There is an old ethnic conflict
in Mauritania between the black African groups, which make
up about one-third of the population, and the Moors, which
include Arabs and make up the majority of the population.
Blacks have much less political influence and have
previously been discriminated against by the Moors.
At the end of September, a demonstrator was shot dead and
15 injured in the city of Maghama, near the Senegal border.
A few days later, some 50 protesters were arrested in the
capital. According to the protesters, the census made it
more difficult for blacks than for Moors to prove that they
are of Mauritian origin. According to the protesters, the
blacks interviewed in the census were forced to speak a
Moorish dialect and recite the Qur'an even though they are
Christians. A black man was afraid that the census would
lead to the same contradictions as 1989-90, when tens of
thousands of black Mauritanian people were forced to flee
Moors and Mauritanian soldiers and make their way to
neighboring Senegal and Mali. The authorities rejected the
criticism and assured that the census would not exclude
anyone but give full rights to all citizens.
Local and parliamentary elections would have been held in
October but postponed indefinitely at the request of the
opposition, which criticized the authorities for not
preparing the elections properly. According to the
opposition, there were no electoral votes and there was no
reliable registration authority or independent electoral
commission. Eleven opposition parties warned that a choice
in this situation would make the situation in the country
even more unstable.