Last week, a group of around 60 unemployed Saharawis hi-jacked a bus from Phosboucraa, to voice their protest against the Moroccan-owned company's exploitation of occupied Western Sahara's phosphate mine.
In the night of 23 March 2017, a group of purportedly 60 unemployed Saharawis took control over a bus that is property of Phosboucraa, which is a full subsidiary of OCP - Morocco's state-owned phosphate company.
The incident happened in El Aaiún, occupied Western Sahara's capital city.
The group is said to have protested against "the systematic marginalisation of Saharawis by the Moroccan occupying regime", citing violations of human rights, in particular the right to decent work. The group supposedly wanted to bring attention to the fact that Morocco prevents Saharawis from enjoying the right to enjoy their country's resources.
Moroccan police forces are said to have reacted by smashing the bus' windows to drag protesters out. Protesters were sprayed with water. Some are reported to have been beaten.
Solidarity with the protesters spread like wildfire through the streets of El Aaiun, into the neighbourhoods of Maatala, Inaach, Alquds and La Visite. Hundreds of Saharawis allegedly took part in these spontaneous demonstrations, which were also met with police violence and house raids. The images below were taken with a mobile phone, and thus not of high quality/resolution.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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