“Together we will resist”: Saharawis launch a campaign of solidarity with Spain, Italy and Algeria

EFE 02/04/2020
Algiers, March 31 (EFE) – The media activists group “Saharawi Voice” launched this Tuesday its campaign “Together we will resist” in solidarity with its neighbours Spain, Italy and Algeria, affected by the coronavirus pandemic, to thank for the support received during the last four decades of occupation.

(See video here and here)
This platform, dedicated to information about Western Sahara, will publish throughout the week several videos realized by citizens and activists to “let them know that they are not alone and when once this is over the Saharawis will be on the other side waiting for them”, it explains in a statement
“We are speaking from experience, we have practically lived in a kind of quarantine for 45 years and it continues to this day,” its co-founder, Mohamedsalem Werad, from the Smara refugee camp in the Algerian desert region of Tindouf, told EFE.
“No one likes to be restricted in their movements, but one must be patient to avoid the worst, which is contagion. They should appreciate the fact that it is temporary and will pass, living from day to day instead of thinking about a whole period,” advises the 35-year-old activist and English teacher.
In this regard, he recalls how Spain and Italy have provided aid since the Moroccan occupation in 1975, taking in hundreds of children every summer and sending medical caravans and humanitarian aid In addition to the role of Algeria, which has taken in half of the Saharan population, offering them international protection
“We have a saying in Hassaniya that perfectly reflects our initiative: we will never forget those who helped us and those who helped our enemies,” recalls Werad
So far, the Saharawi authorities assure that no case of positive or even suspected infection has been recorded in the camps, although 21 people are in preventive quarantine after having returned from other countries.
Concerned about the effects of the outbreak, the Polisario Front ordered the sealing off of the perimeter with Algeria on 19 March, the closure of all ground and air communications, the closure of public spaces, the suspension of all social, cultural and sporting events; it limited movement between camps and reinforced sanitary surveillance and prevention measures..
The conflict in the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara began in autumn of 1975 when Moroccan troops took advantage of the weakness at the end of Franco’s dictatorship and took control of the territory..
The occupation triggered a war with Morocco involving Mauritania, which was suspended in 1991, when a ceasefire was declared and an UN-supervised referendum on self-determination was agreed.
Since then, Rabat and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), recognised by the African Union, have been fighting over its implementation, confronted by the electoral census.