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ANCYL media statement on the attacks on the Saharawi People by Morocco

8 November 2010

The ANCYL condemns the actions of Morocco against the people of Western Sahara. For too long Western Sahara has suffered under the condemnation of colonisation. The Saharawi people are fighting for the basic right to self determination.

The Moroccan authorities have yesterday deployed military troops and police to forcible dismantle the Gdaim Izik protest camp, near El Aaiun, capital of the Occupied Western Sahara where more than 25,000 Sahrawi have set up tents to claim for their human rights and the respect of their right to self-determination.

Moroccan military and police used live ammunition and tear gas to dismantle El Aaiun protest camp in Occupied Western Sahara. The brutal intervention resulted in at least 2 deaths and a number of injured people among protesters. The military forces, gendarmerie and auxiliary forces accompanied by helicopters raided the camp in the early hours of the day and used trucks to spray the tents with hot water, tear gas and set fire to part of the camp to force the residents out of the camp.

According to media sources, several witnesses stated that Moroccan security forces targeted women, children and elderly people.

Recently Spanish regional MP`s, a group of independent journalists and a number of tourists were all denied access to the territory as they intended to assess the situation of the protest and were forcibly returned to Spain.

Taking into account the seriousness of the situation we hereby wish to express our total condemnation of such violent actions committed by the Moroccan authorities against the defenceless Saharawi civilians, knowing that the only crime they have committed is to peacefully claim their right to determine their own future.

We call upon the international community to put pressure on the Moroccan Kingdom to stop its brutal military offensive against Saharawi civilians and allow full access to media, NGOs and international observers into the territory. Moroccan denial grant entry in the territory to the press and international observers shows the urgent need to include human rights monitoring into the mandate of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

The attacks against the Saharawi people come at a time when we prepare for the World Festival of Youth. The President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth was denied access to the camp on the 30th October 2010 and sent out of Morocco.

The ANCYL condemns the attacks on the innocent and defenceless people of Western Sahara and calls upon society to support the Saharawi people towards the attainment of the freedom.

Issued by the ANC Youth League