Nouakchott - Several thousand Mauritanian opposition supporters demonstrated in Nouakchott Wednesday, ahead of the return of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who has been in France for medical treatment since he was shot in mid-October.
"The regime is living its last agonising moments, we will be praying over its mortal remains before long," former president Ely Ould Vall said during the protest organised by opposition umbrella group COD.
The demonstrators marched several miles through the city to condemn the power vacuum Abdel Aziz left behind when he flew to Paris to receive medical treatment.
Speaking after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, he said he was better and would be returning within days.
Mauritanian state media then said Abdel Aziz was expected in Nouakchott on Saturday.
"The president's lack of physical aptitude, which adds to the political inability the man already suffered from, was clearly visible" in the footage of his meeting with Hollande, COS Chairperson Saleh Ould Henenna said.
Abdel Aziz will head home amid international efforts to resolve the crisis in neighbouring Mali, where Islamists have seized control of swathes of the north.
The 55-year-old president, a general who seized power in a 2008 coup, was shot by a soldier at a checkpoint on October 13 in what he described as an accident.