Moroccan forces raid protest camp in Western Sahara, thousands demonstrate in Madrid against crackdown

Sahrawi camp after assaults by Moroccan army

 

Democracy Now, November 18, 2010

AMY GOODMAN: Thousands of people demonstrated in Madrid Saturday against Morocco’s recent crackdown in Western Sahara. Moroccan security forces last week raided a camp where some 20,000 Sahrawis had been staging a massive protest against the Moroccan occupation.

The Moroccan forces used water cannons, tear gas, batons, fired rubber bullets, to break up the protest camp. Dozens of protesters were wounded. The raid ended what had been described as the biggest protest in Western Sahara since Spain withdrew from the territory 35 years ago. Morocco has announced it will try in a military court over 100 Sahrawi activists who participated in the organization of the camp.

On Saturday, thousands took to the streets of Madrid, Spain, to protest the crackdown. Among those demonstrating were European lawmakers, civil rights and trade union leaders, as well as Academy Award-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem.

Thousands demonstrate in Madrid against Morocco's assault on the Sahrawi people

JAVIER BARDEM: I’m here today just to show my support to the Sahrawi people and to condemn the violence by the Moroccan government—dictatorship, I would say. And we have to fight for the independence of the Sahrawi people, because the land is theirs, and now it’s totally occupied by Morocco with the support of the United Nations, United States, France, Spain and a lot of other countries.

PROTESTER: [translated] I am here to demonstrate against the injustices taking place in my country. It’s very sad to see that those who govern us support the tyrants and the terrorists. Continue reading