- coups - Mauritania - military
Several hundred people attended an anti-coup rally in Nouakchott Friday to show their support for ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, under heavy police presence.
As the meeting ended around 7pm local time (1900 GMT), young men waved giant portraits of Abdallahi and made the victory sign in the residential neighbourhood of Tevragh Zeina, heavily patrolled by security forces.
On Wednesday the former head of the presidential guard General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz led a coup against Abdallahi after the president tried to make changes in the military leadership.
The coup had been widely condemned by the international community even though the new military junta promised to quickly hold "fair and transparent" elections.
It emerged Friday that Abdallahi, who is still detained by the army, had been moved from the headquarters of the presidential guard to a villa on the grounds of the Nouakchott congress centre with the former prime minister and three other officials from his regime.
The ousted president is being detained by members of the presidential guard. Abdahalli's daughter said Friday she was concerned about her father's safety and security.
"I am worried about my father's health and safety given that he has not been freed," Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.
She had not seen her father, who is 71, since Wednesday and did not know where he was being held. "No military or official source told us where he was," she told AFP.
After riot police broke up a pro-Abdallahi rally Thursday, the National Front for the Defence of Democracy, created by four parties loyal to Abdallahi, called a press conference on Friday which quickly transformed into a political rally.
At the start of the meeting, police in riot gear fired tear gas into crowd but the rally's organisers called on the crowd to disperse and avoid all confrontation with the security forces and calm returned.
"We will continue our fight until we reach our goal" of getting Abdallahi back in power, said Alkhalil Ould Teyib, a spokesman for the APP party.
The APP was a member of the ruling coalition in parliament before Wednesday's coup d'etat.
Speakers during Friday's rally called on the army "to return to the barracks" and called on the international community to continue to put pressure on the military leadership.
Arab League officials are expected to arrive in Mauritania later on Friday as part of international mediation efforts to resolve the crisis following the coup. Mediators from the African Union were due to arrive Saturday to meet with Abdel Aziz.
Meanwhile the National Front for the Defence of Democracy is planning to hold demonstrations, sit-ins, press conferences and public opinion campaigns. However the parties stressed they would only organise protests that were allowed by the junta.