The meeting that two trade union representatives were hoping to have with the Prime Minister was refused. Around twenty of the protestors, including trade union representative Boubacar Ould Merzoug, were arrested and mistreated.
The national trade union confederations Confédération Générale des Travailleurs de Mauritanie (CGTM) and Confédération Libre des Travailleurs de Mauritanie (CLTM), both affiliates of the ITUC, described the situation as extremely serious and alarming and called on the Mauritanian government to respect its own constitution. The ITUC has expressed its full solidarity with these workers and trade unionists and has condemned the repression.
Several peaceful demonstrations held in protest at the dismissal of some 300 workers from the Tasiast gold mine (the third largest in the world), owned by the Canadian multinational Kinross, have been repressed by security forces in Nouakchott, Nouadhibou and Zouérat over recent months. According to the Mauritanian trade union organisations supporting these employees, the dismissals are illegal, as they contravene the legislation and regulations in force.
“The use of violent repression is totally unacceptable,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC. “The Mauritanian government has an obligation to respect the right to demonstrate, as guaranteed by the Mauritanian constitution and the international conventions Mauritania has signed and ratified,” added Burrow.