PRESS RELEASE: NOVEMBER 9, 2010 IMMEDIATE
Reports of 11 dead, 723 injured and 159 missing after violent clashes in Laayoune yesterday
The Sandblast Team, 9th Nov 2010
The latest official figures released this morning by the Saharawi Ministry of Information report 11 Saharawi dead, 723 injured and 159 missing as a result of the violent dismantling of the Gdeim Izik protest camp outside Laayoune yesterday and brutal clashes between Saharawi protesters and Moroccan authorities in the capital. Additionally, new reports suggest that an unknown number of Saharawi have been detained as the authorities today continue to forcefully enter and ransack homes, arresting those over the age of 16.
For their part, Moroccan authorities announced the death of an employee of the Moroccan Phosphate Office, bringing the total number of deaths confirmed by Morocco to six. According to the Saharawi Press Service, the city has been sealed-off by Moroccan forces, preventing the entry of foreigners, including press, and making it very difficult for any reports to be independently confirmed. The figures are expected to change as more information becomes available.
New footage of yesterday’s destruction of the protest camp and the street violence in Laayoune, published by Saharawi activist group, Sahara Thawra, was released today by Spanish newspaper ABC and conveys the violent events as they unfolded.
There has been no international condemnation of yesterday’s events. The governments of Spain, the UK and the rest of the EU remain silent on the issue. The UN, which is brokering talks between Morocco and the Polisario in New York this week, merely urged the two sides to exercise “restraint”.
Sandblast, along with Western Sahara Campaign UK and War on Want urge members of the public to take action by writing to their MPs to push for UK and wider international intervention to prevent an escalation of violence and allow an independent investigation into events to take place. For more details please go to Sandblast’s Ning Community: http://sandblast-arts.ning.com/forum/topics/write-to-your-mp?commentId=4590061:Comment:698