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. Visit ABBREVIATIONFINDER for the acronym of MRT that stands for the country of Mauritania.
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. According to 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.
History. – In the first fifteen years of the 21st century, civil and military governments took turns leading Mauritania.
After the fall of the military regime of Maaouya Ould Si-d’Ahmed Taya (Ma῾āwiya wuld Sīdī Aḥmad aṭ-Ṭāya῾) in 2005 – which ended three decades of low-intensity civil war – presidential elections were held two years later, judged free by international observers. However, after a new coup in August 2008, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (Muḥammad wuld ῾Abd al῾Azīz) became president in August 2009 following a new round of elections that his party (Union Pour la Répu blique, UPR) won with around 53% of the vote. Since then the ruling party established a system which – to a limited extent democratic and pluralist – was institutionally weak, extremely corrupt and patronizing. Absolutely preponderant was then the role of the armed forces, which, in turn divided into currents and bands, in fact, they tacitly controlled the government and the country. In this context, the pre-existing ethnic tensions between the Arabic-speaking components of the population (Haratin and Bidan), and the African minorities (Fulani, Wolof, Soninke, Bamana) – polarized during the long Ould Taya dictatorship – continued to undermine the the stability of Mauritania, adding to (and contributing) to the fragility and poor economic growth of the country. In 2011, the wave of reform of the Arab Spring also arrived in Mauritania. Large sections of society mobilized across the nation, demanding military withdrawal from politics, more transparency and democracy, but in the long run numerous internal fractures emerged within the diverse protest movement, promptly exploited by the UPR to extinguish the reform flame.
The combination of these factors transformed Mauritanian society into fertile ground for the infiltration of Salafist and jihadist groups, which flocked to the country in large numbers thanks to its vast size, which made the desert borders difficult to control and therefore the object of international trafficking. of arms and drugs, at the center of the networks of transnational Islamist terrorism. The process of youth radicalization was thus able to strengthen, also thanks to copious donations from the Gulf and the forced Arabization of national education, which led to the importation of Islamic Salafist preachers from Egypt and the Near East.