Protesters picket Environment Canterbury over Councillors meeting with Morocco

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stuff.co.nz.- Protesters ran the Western Saharan flag up the Environment Canterbury flag pole to protest councillors meeting with Moroccan officials.

Much of the world’s phosphate supplies come from Western Sahara, a bitterly disputed territory once ruled by Spain but claimed by Morocco in 1975. The Sahrawi people consider the phosphate stolen.

The phosphate is used in fertilisers such as that processed in Christchurch by Ravensdown. A spokesman has previously said Ravensdown is trading legally and within United Nations’ expectations.

Advocacy group Western Sahara Solidarity Aotearoa staged the protest on Friday. About a dozen members, including members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, stood outside ECan with signs and ran the Western Saharan flag up the flagpole.

Union South Island organiser John Kerr said the union “notes the Moroccan government’s attempts to lobby New Zealand politicians”.

Councillors Peter Scott, Lan Pham and Nicole Marshall met with Mbarka Bouaida, the president of the southeast Guelmim-Oued Noun region of Morocco, and Moroccan ambassador to New Zealand Karim Medrek.