The Advertiser: Ali gets the hump over Morocco

Ali the Camel had no intention of breaking a leg when he turned up at the Capital theatre for Bendigo Bank’s extraordinary general meeting yesterday. Kyneton police reported complaints by motorists concerned for the welfare of the stuffed animal.

Published 30 January 2008

The Advertiser, Australia, 30 January 2008

Ali the camel had a bag over its head and was tied to a ute travelling along the Calder towards Bendigo.

However, it was not in the name of animal cruelty that Ali had come.

The mascot of the Australia Western Sahara Association (Victoria), Ali the Camel represents a campaign to curtail investment in companies including Wesfarmers and Incitec Pivot. Association member Garry Holliday says such companies are continuing to import phosphate from Western Sahara, which is illegally occupied by Morocco.

He says Bendigo Bank was the association’s target due to its strong ethical stance as a community bank.

The Western Sahara people suffer human rights abuses in the occupied zone, Mr Holliday says.

They have waited 32 years in refugee camps for the opportunity to have their vote of self-determination as promised by the UN brokered ceasefire of 1991.’‘The intention is to bring attention to other banks,’’ he said.

During question time at the meeting, Bendigo Bank chairman Robert Johanson was asked to respond to the Association’s campaign.’‘ It is an important matter and something that has now been brought to our attention by you.

‘‘We do take those things very seriously and will consider it,’’ he said.

Ali staged a silent protest.

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