Police break up Mauritanian anti-coup protest
Mauritanian police on Wednesday broke up a sit-in protest in front of the country's supreme court by anti-coup demonstrators calling for the former prime minister to be released, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
"Liberate the political prisoners," protesters from the National Front for the Defence of Democracy (FNDD), a coalition of anti-coup parties, and the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (RDF) shouted. There were several dozen protesters when the police broke up the sit-in.
Former prime minister Yahya Ould Ahmed was ousted when a military junta lead by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz seized power in the West African nation in August last year.
He has been detained since November 20, 2008 together with four other people accused of "orchestrating the bankruptcy" of Air Mauritanie. Anti-coup protesters say the charges are a way of the military leadership to settle accounts with their critics.
Ould Abdel Aziz stepped down as junta leader on April 15 to be able to run for president in the June 6 presidential elections. The general is the favorite among the four candidates approved to participate in the vote.