Mauritania cuts mobile internet after violent protests
May 31, 2023 11:43 PM
The Mauritanian government cut internet access for mobile phones Wednesday, a day after protests over the death of a young man after a brief period in police custody.
Despite the loss of internet access for mobile phones, fixed lines were still functional and business activity continued as usual, an AFP journalist observed Wednesday.
On Tuesday, demonstrations erupted in the capital Nouakchott and in the southern city of Boghe.
Demonstrators demanded "justice for Omar Diop", who was arrested on Monday evening after participating in a fight, according to the police. He died a few hours later in hospital after having breathing problems.
An autopsy and investigation are underway to determine the circumstances of the death, the Interior Ministry said.
Demonstrators burnt tyres in the streets of the capital and "set fire to and vandalised public and private property", the ministry said.
In Boghe, a town some 300 kilometres (190 miles) southeast of Nouakchott, one demonstrator was killed during clashes between small groups of youths and the police.
The youths had tried to "take over the town's police station", the Interior Ministry said.
Authorities cut off the mobile internet access to "reduce the chances of links between criminals", a senior police officer told AFP.
On Wednesday, calm had returned to both locations.
Mauritania held its legislative elections on Saturday and Sunday, with the governing party of President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani winning 107 of the 176 seats, ahead of presidential elections set for next year.