At 6.30pm on 27th August, the Saharawi population of El Aaiun organised a large demonstration in the Semara Boulevard, one of the city’s main streets, to coincide with the visit of an EU delegation, headed up by Mr Jonathan Lis, deputy special rapporteur for human rights at the EU.
Protestors demanded an end to the Moroccan exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. They condemned the proposed new fishery agreement between the EU and Morocco, which would include waters belonging to occupied Western Sahara, over which Morocco does not have sovereignty. Therefore, the agreement would constitute a violation of international law.
The area where the demonstration took place and all streets leading to Semara Boulevard were completely blocked by Moroccan forces, consisting of policemen, both uniformed and in civilian clothes, auxiliary forces, and police cars. After a few minutes, the Moroccan security forces started beating and kicking the demonstrators. This violent intervention led to severe injuries for dozens of peaceful Saharawi demonstrators.
Adala UK strongly condemns this violent intervention which we consider a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We further denounce the state of siege which Saharawi citizens are subjected to and the Moroccan authorities’ constant persecution of Saharawi human rights activists.
By Sidi Ahmed Fadel (ADALAUK)