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Police use tear gas to disperse anti-coup protesters

Latest update : 2008-10-06

Mauritanian police used tear gas in the capital, Nouakchott, on several dozen protesters who gathered to protest a recent military coup despite the ban on all protests. FRANCE 24's Marc-André Boisvert was at the scene.

Mauritanian police Sunday used tear gas to disperse several dozen protesters who had gathered in the capital Nouakchott to protest a recent military coup and demand the president be reinstated.

A coalition of pro-democratic political parties had called for the demonstration a day before an African Union deadline for Mauritania to return to constitutional order.

The military leadership in Nouakchott has banned all protests.

After the demonstrators were dispersed, the organisers of the march announced they had changed tactics.

"We have decided to break up the protest movement in a dozen points where people will reassemble between 4 pm and 7 pm (1600 GMT and 1900 GMT). Leaders of the front (which organised the protests) will be at one of the meetings and will speak there," spokesman Ahmedou Ould Wedia said.

The protests come a day before an African Union (AU) deadline for the country's military rulers to reinstate the ousted president.

The August 6 coup was widely condemned by the international community and the AU has issued an ultimatum for the junta to return ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi to power "no later than Monday, October 6".

Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, Mauritania's first democratically-elected president, has been held under house arrest since the coup.

Date created : 2008-10-06