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Mauritania: Last Hope March to Nouakchott Begins

Mauritanian activists have embarked on a 470 kilometre journey on foot, from the city of Nouadhibou to the capital Nouakchott, carrying a number of economic and political demands to the authorities. It is called The March of Last Hope and aims to draw attention to the woes of Mauritanians and their demands for reform.

Blogger Ahmed Jedou blogs [ar] about the march, saying a number of activists, including bloggers, unionists, teachers and those who have been sacked from their jobs, have joined it. The march, he writes, is expected to reach Nouakchott by the middle of March, if not earlier.

Activists at the beginning of the 470km march. Photo credit: Ahmed Jedou

Activists at the beginning of the 470km march. Photo credit: Ahmed Jedou

Among the marchers demands are:

ضمان الحد الأدنى لحرية التعبير السلمي للناشطين بالمدينة.
2- فتح حوار مباشر و جاد مع السلطات العليا للبلد لوضع حد نهائي لمعاناة مواطني أحياء الترحيل( الجديدة و أحزمة البؤس) بحيث يضمن تسوية موضوعية للسكن و التموين تليق بالمدينة كعاصمة اقتصادية و قطب للتنمية.
3- نطالب بتسهيل دمج المهنيين الشباب في القطاعات ذات الصلة، انطلاقا من التزايد الطردي للمواقع الشاغرة في الإدارات و المؤسسات الجهوية و المركزية العمومية منذ عدة سنين في مختلف هذه القطاعات مثل: قطاعات الصيد و المعادن و المتواجدة بالعشرات، و الناتجة عن تقاعد الموظفين و انتشار العقدويين و الطابور الثالث داخل هذه المؤسسات، رغم رفع السن القانونية اللازمة لولوج الوظيفة العمومية إلي 40 سنة و تواجد الطاقات الشبابية المؤهلة لذلك.
4- نطالب بإعلان الحكومة عن زيادة معتبرة في الأجور في القطاعين العام والخاص لتخفيف وطأة الغلاء المعيشي للطبقة النشطة
1. Guaranteeing minimum levels of freedom of peaceful expression for activists in the city
2. Starting a direct and serious dialogue with the higher authorities to put an end to the suffering of citizens in neighbourhoods the government claimed will be relocated to better places. The dialogue should come up with an objective settlement for dwellings and services, which befit a city which is an economic capital and a development hub.
3. We call upon integrating trained youth in areas of their expertise, to fill increasing vacancies in various sectors, such as fisheries and minerals, which have resulted from the retirement of employees
4. We demand an increase in the wages of the public and private sectors to decrease the burden of living expenses on the working class

Other demands included cleaning up the streets from piles of garbage and granting land to unemployed youth with university degrees to enable them to start their own businesses.

Like their counterparts across the Arab world, Mauritanian activists have been protesting Arab Spring-like for political and economic reforms for almost a year.

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