Western Sahara |
Politics | Human rights
Peaceful Western Sahara anti-government protests
A call for mass protests today in the refugee camps, housing an estimated 150,000 Sahrawis escaping Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, was made last week. The youthful group wanted the 35-year-old exiled government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic to open up for a new generation.
But the "Revolutionary Youth" also wanted reforms in the refugee camps, governed by the POLISARIO government. Especially, they demanded, "the judiciary and the state administration" urgently needed to be reformed.
The protesters in particular reacted against the alleged widespread nepotism, tribalism and corruption in government institutions. Many government officials were busier filling their own pockets than during their duty serving citizens in the impoverished refugee camps, the youth claim.
Another major demand was for corrupt officials to be brought to trial and the funds stolen from the Sahrawi people to be restored.
It was also time that a new generation of Sahrawis were allowed to "to participate in political life," the youths demanded.
The most daring demand was for changes to the electoral code in Western Sahara that would give voters a larger possibility to influence the election of parliamentary members and the President.
The "Revolutionary Youth" at all occasions emphasised the continued Sahrawi unity in the fight against the Moroccan "enemy", urging Moroccan media not to exploit the protests for propaganda uses. For that reason, all protesters were urged to bring Sahrawi flags - which they did.
Mr Zarwal was not able to tell afrol News whether new protests would be prepared in the Sahrawi refugee camps or what would be the next steps by the "Revolutionary Youth" in their fight for political reforms in the Sahrawi Republic.
Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, has been occupied by Morocco since 1976, with a bloody war between the two parties going on until a 1991 ceasefire. The rebel POLISARIO since 1976 has formed the government of the Sahrawi Republic, which is a full-fledged African Union member although based in exile.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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