Saturday, November 19, 2005

More persons injured in Aaiun demonstrations

El Aaiun (occupied territories), 19/11/2005 (SPS) 8 persons at least were injured and another arrested during new demonstrations in El Aaiun, organised Friday night, that claims for the withdrawal of the Moroccan occupier and call for Saharawi people’s right to self-determination, reported concordant sources.

Demonstrators, who were lifting SADR’s flags and chanted slogans against the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, marched through the "Bir Jdid Avenue" passing by "Boucraa Avenue" heading to "Skeikima Street" where they were dispersed by the different corps of the Moroccan repressive apparatus, the same sources reported.

Women are registered among the injured victims, mainly Mrs. Hjabbouha Lensari, who was tortured and seriously hurt, while Mr. Likhlifi Mohamed Lamine was arrested and conducted to the police station of the Moroccan criminal police in El Aaiun, it was indicated.

On another hand, Saharawi citizens of the occupied city of Boujdour organised, on Friday evening, a big demonstration in the "Colomina Avenue" and chanted slogans such as: "no other alternative but self-determination", "Morocco out the Sahara is not", "independence via peace or war", "long live the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic", it was further underlined.

In El Aaiun, Moroccan forces of occupation put the main popular neighbourhoods of the city under siege, on Friday evening, forbidding movement of persons and closed all the ways leading to the Carcel Negra (black prison in El Aaiun, where more that 40 Saharawi political prisoners are detained), the same sources added.

The numbers of the injured people according to the information SPS got reached 117 persons, while about 60 persons were arrested. (SPS)

The EU-Morocco fisheries agreement must be stopped or amended

End this neglected injusticeMore international pressure must be put on Morocco over its occupationof the Western Sahara, says Carne Ross
Guardian Unlimited

Friday November 18, 2005I was glad to see Ian Black's piece marking the 30th anniversary ofMorocco's illegal occupation of the Western Sahara on Guardian Unlimited last week.But I want to take him to task for his suggestion that the WesternSahara Campaign, of which I am a member, is guilty of "wishfulthinking" in hoping that there might be progress in this long-stagnant dispute.Throughout decades of Indonesian occupation, representatives of EastTimor were told to "be realistic" and forget their struggle forself-determination. Perhaps some even accused them of "wishful thinking", but they did not give up - and today East Timor is anindependent state.If there were justice in the world, campaigns such as ours would notneed to exist. Our purpose is to draw attention to an injustice that has long been neglected by members of the UN security council,including our own government.The security council has passed dozens of resolutions calling for areferendum on self-determination for the Western Sahara. None has been implemented, and Minurso, the UN body intended to supervise thereferendum, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to achievenothing.Today, no state is lifting a diplomatic finger to resolve thesituation. The British government offers the bromide that the issue is in the UN's hands - which, in reality, means letting Morocco off thehook.France and Spain, Morocco's principal European allies, occasionallypretend to engage in diplomacy while meanwhile preventing the EU from using any of its considerable influence to move the Moroccan position.Indeed, the EU is about to agree a new fisheries agreement withMorocco that will allow EU boats illegally to exploit the WesternSahara's waters. The US seems unwilling to do anything to upset a key Arab ally in the "war on terror" - Morocco successfully presentsitself as a "reforming" Arab government, despite its continuing recordof human rights abuse and lack of democracy.Recently, I visited refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, where around 150,000 Sahrawis languish, waiting for the world to deliver thejustice it has promised.The camps are impressive and well-organised, but there is aninevitable despair among the people, some of whom have spent 30 years in the desert waiting to return to their own country. Some of theoriginal refugees, driven from the Western Sahara by the Moroccaninvasion, now have grandchildren - two generations have grown upwithout seeing their homeland. Among the Polisario leadership in the camps, there is no mood to giveup the long struggle. Some talked of a return to war, which remainssuspended since the ceasefire of 1991. They know such a course wouldoffer them little against a Morocco amply equipped with US, French,Spanish and some British weapons, and which would no doubt rush toaccuse the Polisario of "terrorism".But the Sahrawis are desperate, well aware that the promises of the world's powers and institutions to deliver self-determination haveproved to be hollow.Meanwhile, inside the occupied territory, this summer has seen aboiling over of frustration among the indigenous Sahrawi inhabitants. Demonstrations across the territory have been met by Moroccanrepression, with arbitrary arrests, detention without trial and, inrecent days, the death of a Sahrawi demonstrator, Lembarki Hamdi, atthe hands of the Moroccan police. Despite Morocco's attempts to squash the story, reports of multiplyingarrests and growing demonstrations have been getting out, bringingwith them the threat of serious instability in the region.At the last security council meeting, John Bolton suggested this dispute had gone on for long enough. Whether his sentiment inclinesthe US - or the security council as a whole - to at last put pressureon Morocco to do the right thing remains to be seen.The new UN envoy, Peter van Walsum, can only make progress if the member states support him, above all by moving Morocco from itsintransigent opposition to any referendum including independence as anoption.What can be done? The British government, despite its responsibilities as a permanent member of the security council (and for a few weeksmore, the holder of the EU presidency) seems to think it has no locusor ability to intervene. This is false, not least because the UK andthe EU have some sway over Morocco, which looks to Europe for political support and trade.Britain must press Morocco to allow a fair process ofself-determination, as the security council and the internationalcourt of justice have decreed. The EU-Morocco fisheries agreement must be stopped or amended to ensure that EU boats do not exploit thewaters of Western Sahara.Morocco, meanwhile, welcomes western tourists while hoping that nonenotice its oppression of another people and its occupation of their land. Until the Sahrawi are freed from occupation, no tourist shouldvisit - don't go to Morocco, until Morocco goes from the WesternSahara.· Carne Ross is a former British diplomat and member of the UK Western Sahara Campaign

Useful linksWestern Sahara Campaign War on Want

Demonstration resumed again

Demonstrations break again in occupied El Aaiun and Dakhla
El Aaiun (occupied territories), 18/11/2005 (SPS) Demonstrations took again, Thursday, in the occupied capital of Western Sahara, Al Aaiun, and in Dakhla city. Confrontations between demonstrators claiming for Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and independence and Moroccan colonial forces engendered 6 injured persons in Dakhla and two in El Aaiun, according to concordant sources.
In El Aaiun the first demonstration took place at 11.00 GMT in the Chrif Raddi Avenue to reach the intersection of Skeikima Avenue before been dispersed by the forces of police, GUS and auxiliary forces, who had sealed the neighbouring streets so as to keep other Saharawis from joining the protest, it was indicated.
Two other demonstrations were started in the afternoon, one organised three hours after the first, in the same neighbourhood in El Aaiun. The brutal intervention by the Moroccan colonial forces resulted in the devastation and ransacking of 6 Saharawi houses and the arrest of Mr. Joumaii Abdi Mahjoub Jamaa, who was transferred to the IV police station where he underwent torture and interrogatories, the same sources indicated.
In Dakhla demonstrations started in the evening. Demonstrators were lifting SADR’s flags and chanting slogans against the Moroccan colonialism. Sources reported many injured persons, including Mr. Mane Ould Ely, whose car was put in fire by the police, while the house of one of the Chioukhs (notables recognised by the UN in the identification of voters in the referendum) was ransacked and plundered by the forces of intervention, it was added.
Since last Sunday, Saharawi occupied cities are the theatre to regular confrontations between peaceful demonstrators and Moroccan authorities, which appealed to the army to suppress the demonstrators.
A non declared permanent state of siege is reinforced in the occupied cities of Western Sahara for the last six days, and the territory remains closed to the international Medias
The President of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, warned the UN’s Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in a letter he sent on Thursday, about a "probable genocide" in El Aaiun, calling to "a urgent UN’s intervention" in order to "prevent new abuses", to protect Saharawi citizens and guarantee them their legitimate right to demonstration, free expression and movement, it should be recalled. (SPS)
010/090/110/TRD 181304 nov 05 SPS

A genocide can happen in W.Sahara

Risks of "genocide" in Western Sahara, Saharawi Ambassador to Algiers warns
Algiers, 18/11/2005 (SPS) Saharawi Ambassador to Algiers, Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, warned Friday against a "genocide" in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, which is the theatre of peaceful demonstrations for self-determination, since the late October, and was "violently repressed" by the Moroccan colonial authorities.
"Since the assassination of Martyr Lembarki Hamdi by the Moroccan police, in October the 30th, the peaceful resistance in the occupied territories of Western Sahara took a new dimension", declared Mr. Beissat, during a press conference he held at the Saharawi Embassy in Algiers.
"Nowadays, daily peaceful demonstrations are taking place in El Aaiun and other cities of the Western Sahara", the Ambassador affirmed.
These demonstrations "are violently suppressed by Moroccan authorities", he added, giving records about "hundreds injured persons dozens detainees".
"We warn the international community that the situation in the occupied territories may go out of control at any moment and change to be a real genocide", he insisted.
The Saharawi civil movement of protest "has got four objectives: ask for the holding of a self-determination referendum, the release of political prisoners, the respect of human rights and the opening of the occupied territories to the international medias and NGOs", Mr. Beissat explained.
In the face of "the demonstrators, whose only weapons are the hunger strike and the sit-ins, the Moroccan Government resumes to disproportionate use of force, arbitrary arrests and torture", he regretted, denouncing "the accomplice silence of some European countries".
On another hand, the Saharawi diplomat announced that more than 40 Saharawi human rights activists, including Mrs. Aminetou Haidar and Mr. Ali Salem Tamek, will be brought before a Moroccan court in El Aaiun, this Tuesday.
"We call on the medias and humanitarian organisations to be the witnesses on this judicial masquerade", Beissat underlined.
"Thirty years of occupation are enough to prove that Saharawis are not Moroccans and that they will fight to the end to exercise their right to self-determination", the Saharawi Ambassador affirmed.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Saharawi Jurists Union, Aba Salek El Haissen, who was participating to the same press conference, called for the constitution of an international committee for investigation to "draw the light on the fate of thousands Saharawi victims of disappearance during the last 30 years of the Moroccan occupation". (SPS)

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