Protests resume after Moroccan king's visit to occupied Western Sahara
"Coordination of Unemployed Saharawi demand benefits from the territory’s natural resources. Our resources can provide us with jobs", banners on the streets of El Aaiun read during yesterday's protests.
After a temporary lull in frequency, coinciding with the Moroccan King's February visit to the territory he holds under illegal occupation, Saharawis have returned to public protests in demand of employment.
"Our natural resources can provide us with jobs", their banners read.
Protests demanding jobs on the back of the exploitation of Western Sahara's resources have been going on for months in the occupied parts of the territory. As Morocco turns Western Sahara's natural endowments into profit, Saharawis are increasingly demanding their share, or at the very minimum, employment.
Routinely, the Moroccan police reacted violently to the sight of Saharawis protesting. Several protesters are reportedly injured, some needing medical assistance.
The Moroccan security apparatus' presence in Western Sahara was increased well beyond the usual high levels for the occasion of the royal visit, deterring most demonstrators. Protests were resumed at the first glance of the security situation turning back to 'normal' levels - which are in itself aberrantly high for an area the Moroccan regime styles as a part of the national territory just like Tangiers, Marrakech or Rabat.
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.
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.
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