Thousands in Mauritanian anti-regime protest

By AFP
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By AFP

4/22/2012 11:00:02 PM -

NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) - Thousands of young Mauritanian opposition protestors took to the streets of Nouakchott Sunday to demand President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a former coup leader, step down.

"We're ready to oust Aziz," the demonstrators chanted during a march that wound up in front of the national broadcaster, which the protestors described as "the symbol of the regime's tyranny".

"The process meant to speed up the downfall of the despot is now under way," said one of the organisers, Mohamed Fadel of the moderate Islamist party Tewassoul.

Islamist parties have surfaced as the dominant political force in several Arab countries affected by the wave of pro-democracy revolts that has swept the region since Tunisia rose up in January 2011.

No incident was reported during the protest, which was called by several opposition parties and youth groups formed in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring.

Around 40 young opposition supporters were arrested four days earlier during another anti-regime protest.

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.

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