Big Protest in Mauritius Over Oil Spill
Tens of thousands of Mauritians protested Saturday in the capital Port-Louis over the government's handling of a giant oil spill off its pristine Indian Ocean coast.
The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed into a reef off southeastern Mauritius in July spewing more than 1,000 tons of oil into waters that are home to mangrove forests and endangered species.
After the boat split in two, the larger piece was towed out to sea and sunk, but the smaller section remains stranded on the reef.
The call for the march came from an ordinary citizen, Jean Bruneau Laurette, who has become a hero among many for daring to oppose Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
Laurette, a maritime security expert, says the government has been hiding the truth about the circumstances of the oil spill. He has filed a case against the environment ministry.
Up to 75,000 protesters thronged the square in front of the cathedral in downtown Port-Louis, an AFP reporter said, in the biggest demonstration in 40 years.