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Police tear-gas crowds loyal to ousted president

Police in Mauritania have fired tear gas on crowds supporting ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Adballahi. The protest was held in defiance of a ban on demonstrations by the new military regime.

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Police in Mauritania's capital Nouakchott on Tuesday clashed with protesters supporting president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was ousted by a military junta in August.

As riot police tried to break up an anti-coup demonstration with tear gas, the demonstrators pelted the security forces with stones.

The protest was being held in defiance of a ban demonstrations by the new military regime, headed by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

"Down with Aziz, Long live Sidi," some of the demonstrators chanted Tuesday. The clashes between police and protesters caused some panic in the Nouakchott central neighbourhood with several people trying to flee the violence.

Earlier Tuesday, six Mauritanian unions called for protest marches to "resist the dictatorship" of the junta.

But in the afternoon the union said it had changed tactics.

"Today we have decided to go ahead with our planned protests but we have changed strategy and instead of a peaceful march we will seek a confrontation," union leader Samory Ould Beye told AFP.
 

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