Wednesday 26.4.2017 in Latest Developments in Mauritania Country Page
On 16th April 2017, a group of approximately 100 young activists and representatives from local civil society organised the Peaceful March of Mauritanian Youth in the capital, Nouakchott. Organisers encouraged citizens to participate in the demonstration through social media messaging, traditional media, articles, statements, and TV broadcasts. The aim of the march was to urge the government to give greater emphasis to the needs of young people when developing economic and social reforms. The march was to serve as a reminder of how important young people are as members of Mauritanian society.
The demonstration was barely underway when police arrived and turned on the protesters with batons; several participants - including members of the CSO Je m'engage - were injured and ten were arbitrarily detained.
Three-day arrest warrants were issued for ten of the young people on charges of unauthorised assembly and alleged aggression against the police. Nine of the young people were later acquitted. However, one young activist, Ouma Kane, leader of the CSO - Association Multiculturelle pour un Avenir Meilleur(AMAM) - was fined 15,400 Ouguiya (US$42).
In an interview with CIVICUS following the incident, one protest leader declared:
"I want to use this opportunity to bring the gravity of my suffering and the suffering of the 10 young people [...] to the attention of all institutions, organizations, and individuals working on human rights, justice and peace. It is important to remember that we have only exercised a citizen's right".