Moroccan forces destroy protest camp in Western Sahara – at least three dead

Australia Western Sahara Association
Press Release

For immediate release  – Tuesday 9 November 2010

Moroccan forces destroy protest camp in Western Sahara – at least three dead.
AWSA calls for end to the violence and respect for rights of the Saharawi people

The Australia Western Sahara Association condemns the attack at the protest camp of Gdeim Izik, near El Aauin, the capital of occupied Western Sahara at dawn on Monday 8 November.

It has been reported that the Moroccan military and security forces attacked the 20,000 Saharawis who have been staging a peaceful protest for the past month. One death has been confirmed, that of Mahmoud Gargar Baba though it is feared many more Saharawis have died and hundreds are injured. Over 300 are unaccounted for, many have been arrested and are being tortured. The number of dead and injured is still mounting and the violence continues.

The unprovoked attack was committed by the Moroccan forces, comprising: gendarmerie, police, military and auxiliaries forces. They engaged in unprecedented violence, using helicopters to drop tear gas and as well as water cannons with hot water and live ammunition against the defenceless Saharawi citizens including women, children and the elderly.

By attacking the camp the Moroccan forces have committed an abhorrent crime against innocent civilians calling for their legitimate rights.

What the Saharawis wanted through setting up the protest camp was to express, through peaceful and civilized means their dissatisfaction with their living conditions and the denial of their political, social and economic rights making them second-class citizens in their own country, while Morocco benefits from trade in their natural resources.

The United Nations mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO was denied access to the protest camp European Parliamentarians, international observers and foreign journalists were turned back at the airport in order that Morocco might commit the crime without foreign witnesses, as they did during their 1975 annexation of Western Sahara.

AWSA calls on the United Nations Security Council and High Commission for Human Rights to take urgent action to prevent further casualties and to send observers to assess the situation.

“These events confirm the need for human rights monitoring to be included in the mandate of MINURSO”, said Lyn Allison, President of AWSA.


Photos attached.
YouTube of destroyed camp:
Minute by minute blog in Spanish: