“Two officers took my banner from me, on which I had written that the wealth of natural resources in Western Sahara should guarantee me a job”, stated Abd Ali Ansari, a 34 year old unemployed Saharawi.
“Then they pushed me and hit me in really sensitive parts of my body. I fell to the ground and I was trampled on. I believe my nose is broken”, stated Ansari, who holds a master degree in private law.
Western Sahara Resource Watch was in contact with Ansari today via a friend of his.
The follow-up of that promise was the trigger that sparked yesterday's demonstration.
“When OCP later announced the qualification criteria, it appeared that the job opportunities would go to non-Saharawis. You see, Saharawis are not allowed to take certain careers at the Moroccan universities. In order to apply, one needed qualifications that are unavailable to us”, stated one of the participants of yesterday’s events to WSRW.
After 40 years of occupation, there are no universities in Western Sahara proper.
Around two dozen demonstrators are said to have been injured in the events in El Aaiun yesterday afternoon. WSRW has not received independent confirmation about the veracity of the numbers of injured, but has been in contact with one of the injured.
The demonstration took place at 5pm yesterday evening, on the Matala Street. The demonstration was organised by a group calling itself "the Sahrawi coordination of unemployed graduates and other deprived people". The majority of those demonstrating is said to have been graduates with university degrees. One of the demonstrators told WSRW that they all remained peaceful and did not block the traffic.
One eye-witness says that the demonstrators were being attacked and abused by uniformed and plain clothed security service personnel. The Moroccan Auxiliary Forces are said to have followed some of the injured to the hospital, where they were harassed.
Morocco’s state owned phosphate mine is the biggest employer in the occupied territory. Morocco took over the management of the mine only few weeks after the occupation, in the last months of 1975. The last years, WSRW has made annual reports on whereto this phosphate rock is exported. Four importers have halted the imports over the controversies.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.