Beaten for protesting these importers of controversial phosphate

Three Saharawis have submitted a complaint against police brutality following their protest against companies that import phosphate rock from their occupied homeland.
Published: 24.11 - 2016 14:16Printer version    
complaint_1_phosphate_police_violence_350.jpgWSRW has received copies of three separate complaints against Moroccan police officers for brutally attacking Saharawis who took to the streets to denounce companies such as Canadian fertilizer producer PotashCorp, New Zeland's Ravensdown, Lithuania's Lifosa and Australia's Incitec Pivot. See one of those complaints to the right; click the photo for a larger version.

On 16 November, around a dozen of unemployed Saharawis and relatives of former employees of Phosboucraa - the Moroccan-controlled phosphate factory in occupied Western Sahara - pitched a protest in front of the wilaya, the governor's office, of El Aaiun - the capital city of the territory. They carried banners and shouted slogans that accuse several international importers of phosphate rock from Western Sahara, including the above mentioned, of not respecting international law and thus contributing to the Saharawis' exclusion from job opportunities.

Almost immediately, the protest was broken up by the Moroccan police. Three protesters, El Banbari Mohamed, Jeddna El Abidine and Hamma Sbaai, claim to have been beaten. On 21 November, they each submitted a complaint at the local court, asking the King's Prosecutor to open investigation into police violence and bring the responsible officers to justice.

The 2015 exports of phosphates from the territory have been documented in our latest P for Plunder report, published on 8 April 2016.

The photos below are from the protest of 16 November. Taken by a phone camera, resolution is quite low.









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.
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