Life is reported back to normal in Mauritania's capital city of Nouakchott Thursday, one day after a group of military officers took power in a bloodless coup.

Hundreds of people flowed into Nouakchott's streets Wednesday to celebrate the overthrow of President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. The 17-member Military Council for Justice and Democracy named Colonel Ely Ould Mohammed Vall, Mauritania's national police chief, as its leader.

The council says it took power to end the totalitarian practices of Mr. Taya, who seized power himself in a 1984 coup. He had come under fire in recent years for aligning the Islamic nation with Israel.

The council has pledged to rule Mauritania for two years before yielding to democracy.

The United States, African Union and United Nations have condemned the bloodless coup.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.