Scottish oil firm Cairn drills amid repression and fear in Western Sahara, 23 January 2015
by Joanna Allan and John Hilary

“You mean you haven’t heard of the roast chicken?” asks Shaykh, a young Saharawi activist, whilst we discuss Moroccan repression tactics in the relative safety of a street side café. Shaykh comes from Western Sahara, a country that has been illegally occupied by neighbouring Morocco for almost 40 years. It seems the Sunday dinner staple is a useful metaphor for the savage manner in which Saharawis are suspended from bars, limbs bound, and beaten in the pursuit of information. The young Saharawi tells us he has experienced “the roast chicken” many a time, in retribution for protesting against foreign governments and corporations that plunder his country’s natural resources.