At the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in February, hundreds of Moroccans forcibly prevented the holding of a conference of solidarity with the Sahrawi people. About 500 Moroccans stormed the room with Moroccan flags, shouting insults, snatching the flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic from the podium. Western Sahara was invaded and occupied by Morocco in 1975.
Speakers Pierre Galand, Belgian senator and Willy Meyer, Spanish MEP, were among those beaten and shoved during the incident. The meeting, “Western Sahara: Africa’s last colony”, was held the next day, 9 February, in the same location.
As PN goes to press, the EU is planning to extend for one year a fisheries agreement with Morocco that includes Western Sahara’s waters, which generates over 70% of fish caught under the agreement, it has been estimated.
Western Sahara Resource Watch said: “The commission has shown complete disregard for international law by not consulting with the people of Western Sahara as the United Nations demands.” In cultural news, there is a new French arthouse documentary about the Sahrawis (Lost Land/Territoire Perdu), and Irish photographer Andrew McConnell’s Western Sahara portrait series “The Last Colony” won first prize in that category in this year’s World Press Photo contest. www.tinyurl.com/peacenews265