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Demonstration of Sahrawi unemployed university graduates in El Aaiun.

Demonstration of Sahrawi unemployed university graduates in El Aaiun.

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1 February 2016

The four groups of Saharawi unemployed in El Aaiun established the “coordination” began to protest since January 6th 2016 in particular because there was no new formal promise of employment by the OCP, the Moroccan company which illegally exploits the Western Sahara’s phosphate.

The four groups of the coordination are the cadres (masters), the OCP Skills, the group Ennhda (rebirth) and the group El Amal (Hope).

So they organized or tried to organize demonstrations in different neighbourhoods simultaneously during the beginning of January.

Here is a chronological summary of the main actions of protest and the Moroccan colonial security forces repression occur afterward.

On January 6, 2016 the coordination tried to hold a press conference at the Moroccan labour union the UMT (trade union) centre of El Aaiun but the police and general intelligence services agents surrounded the square and blocked the streets.

They bring out the unemployed by force. In response and as sort of protest the group of the unemployed caders with Masters demonstrated in the Essmara main street. They are attached to each other with iron chains. The police and auxiliary forces intervened violently to disperse them.

On January 12th, 27 unemployed began a hunger strike they declared it’ll be unlimited. They are installed in the local branch of the association for the defense of human rights.

On January 18th, six days after their hunger strike and while the demonstrations began to grow by the members of the coordination, families and sympathiser citizens, the occupation authorities surrounded the building.

On January 18th, the authorities prevented the strikers taken to hospital to return back to the local of the association. So the number of strikers began to diminish.

On January 19th, the strikers’ families filed complaints with the Attorney General. The next day the last visits the strikers staying with a delegation of four doctors. They confirm the strikers’ right to protest peacefully.

On January 20th, the Moroccan authorities reinforce the blockade around the building and prevent sympathizers entering the building, they cut down electricity and water.

Four strikers are mandated by their colleagues to go to the department prefecture to meet President of the region, the president of so called CORCAS‘s nephew.

He received them freshly threat with a forceful intervention by the authorities to end the strike. Told he is totally disagreeing with the strikers approach, denounced the information that is made outside of Western Sahara, and gives no warranty as to the claims when the unemployed insisted.

On January 25th, 2016, last 7 strikers still in the local of the association suspend their hunger strike. They finally got an oral promise from the president of the region he will intervene to the OCP.



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