Renewed Protests in Tindouf Camps by Disenchanted Youth

Anger and frustration are building up among the youth in the Polisario-run camps of Tindouf in South-western Algeria who are fed up with the Polisario and Algeria trading with their suffering.

Sahrawi media speak of the setting up of a new movement dubbed “The Sahrawi Initiative for Change” that has been gaining momentum in Tindouf camps demanding an end of the corruption and siege imposed by the Polisario leadership on the Sahrawis held against their will.

Since the repressive Polisario militia ban on any meeting of the protest movement inside the camps, members of the Sahrawi Initiative for Change living in Mauritania and Madrid held meetings to discuss the steps forward to make the voice of the bulk majority of the Sahrawis in Tindouf camps heard.

Leaders of the initiatives include former senior members of the Polisario executive apparatus such as Lhaj Ahmed Barkallah, brother of the Polisario representative to the UN, Oulad Moussa, cousin of the Polisario coordinator with the MINURSO, and Hdih Abbiha, the brother of the second in line Polisario diplomat.

Protests are common place in the Tindouf camps where an uprising was violently silenced in 1988. In 2004, Khat Achahid (the Path of the Martyr) was established as an opposition movement to the Polisario leadership.

The Polisario has often resorted to violence to silence any protest within the camps. Last May, the Polisario has imposed a curfew in the camps to quell a protest that was going to be staged by the disenchanted population held in inhumane living conditions in Southwestern Algeria.

The Polisario militiamen, in connivance with the Algerian army, have reinforced the siege on the Tindouf camps to prevent Sahrawis from fleeing. The Algerian army has on multiple occasions fired at any Sahrawi attempting to leave the camps. Last March, Algerian soldiers fired without warning at a car outside the Tindouf camps, killing Kari Mohamed Ali El Ouali and his friend Ahmed Lebouiya Sahraoui.

The protest movements demonstrate the repressive authoritarian nature of the Polisario militias, which is fed by an obsolete ideology of the one-state party mixed with tribal despotism.

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