Mauritanian opposition parties have decried the authorities' refusal to issue a permit for a planned demonstration against government policies.
At a press conference held in capital Nouakchott yesterday evening, opposition party representatives said the authorities' refusal to issue a permit for a rally planned for tomorrow represented "a clear indication of the decline of freedoms in the country".
Mohamed Jamil Ould Mansour, head of the opposition National Rally for Reform and Development, said opposition forces would respond to the move by "escalating" their protest activity in the days ahead.
He did not elaborate regarding the nature of the promised escalations.
The Mauritanian authorities, for their part, justified their refusal to allow the planned rally by saying it would conflict with Mauritania's "Armed Forces Day", a national holiday that falls tomorrow.
At yesterday's press conference, opposition leaders lamented "the erosion of public and private freedoms in Mauritania" – a situation they said had been aggravated by high rates of unemployment, soaring commodity prices and a raft of unresolved political problems.
The press conference was attended by leaders of Mauritania's National Forum for Democracy and Unity (an alliance of 14 opposition parties), the Union of Democratic Forces Party and the Al-Sawab Party, among others.