A demonstration of exceptional magnitude gathered on Saturday tens of thousands of Mauritians, who took to the streets of Port-Louis to denounce the government's management of the oil spill which ravaged the southeast coast of their island at the beginning of the month.
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A crowd like Mauritius had not seen for nearly 40 years - between 50,000 and 75,000 people according to the estimates of the organizers and the local press - stormed the cathedral square at the end of the morning, in the heart of the capital, noted an AFP journalist.
The procession, bringing together all the components of Mauritian society including many women and young people, and very largely dressed in black to evoke the ravages of the fuel leak, then marched to express its dissatisfaction with its serious ecological and economic consequences. . " This demonstration is an opportunity to send a message (to Prime Minister) Pravind Jugnauth to tell him that he made a mistake in the way of managing the sinking of the Wakashio ", Jocelyne Leung, 35, told AFP. an office worker.
The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25 on a reef at Pointe d'Esny, in the south-east of the island. Three weeks later, the wreckage broke in two, after a race against time to pump out the fuel it contained. In the meantime, the ship has released at least 1,000 tons of fuel oil that has soiled the coast - including protected areas home to mangrove forests and endangered species - and crystal clear waters popular with tourists.
Corruption and social inequalities also denounced
Many of them carrying the Mauritian flag, the demonstrators sang the national anthem to emphasize the patriotism of their approach, which the government had in advance tried to discredit.
The demonstrators called on Pravind Jugnauth to resign, with the slogan in Creole " Lév paké aller " (leave power). Many Mauritians believe that the government has taken too long to take stock of the disaster and organize the pumping of fuel oil.
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This archipelago in the Indian Ocean, with its 1.3 million inhabitants, depends on its waters for its food security, based on fishing, and for ecotourism, in an area which is among the most beautiful coral reefs in the country. world.
The Prime Minister, in power since 2017, deemed he had made no mistakes and refused to apologize. More broadly, the demonstrators also denounced corruption, social inequalities, the stranglehold on the power of certain families and a regime perceived as more and more authoritarian.
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