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Incident on 16 April 2017 Download as CSV Print this page

Location: Nouakchott

Country: Mauritania

Violation types: violation of the right to peaceful assembly violent represion of a peaceful protest

Perpetrator classifications: Military National Guard Police

Location


This incident took place in Nouakchott, Mauritania

Description


According to Amnesty International: "Weaknesses in Mauritania’s legal framework facilitate the regular violation of the right to peaceful assembly. [...] On 16 April 2017, in Nouakchott, the security forces violently repressed a peaceful march of about 100 young activists calling on the authorities to end the marginalization of young people, including by simplifying the civil registration process and making education policies more inclusive. The organizers notified the Hakem of the protest on 10 April. The Hakem on 14 April informed them over the phone that the assembly was not authorized, and a police commissioner asked the organizers to call off their march. Despite the organizer’s request, the authorities failed to provide them with a written explanation on the decision. On 16 April, the police were deployed at the demonstration site, the BMD roundabout in Nouakchott’s city centre, early in the day, in full anti-riot gear, as youth groups started gathering. Without any prior warning, they fired tear gas on the demonstration site and, armed with batons, charged the protesters who were beaten, including on their necks and on their backs. The police arrested 26 activists, 16 of whom were released the same day while 10 others, including two women, were charged and detained. They were asked to sign statements in Arabic which some of them did not understand, and which some refused to sign as the statement said they had committed violent acts, including throwing stones and burning tyres."