Melbourne — The 37th anniversary of the proclamation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was celebrated on Wednesday 27th through several activities, according to the Australian Western Sahara Association (AWSA).
SADR flags have been raised on various public buildings around Australia, including Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney, Richmond Town Hall and Victoria Trades Hall in Melbourne, Trades Hall in Ballarat.the source indicated .
A special ceremony was held by Moreland Council in Coburg Town Hall, Melbourne with presence of the CEO of Moreland, Peter Brown, the Mayor, Oscar Yildiz, and several Council officers.
A cake to mark the 37th anniversary of SADR was cut by the Mayor and Cate Lewis, Vice-President of AWSA.
The President of Australian Unions for Western Sahara, Paul Slape, responded to the kind words of the CEO and the mayor both wishing the Saharawi people well on their anniversary, explaining how the referendum of self-determination has been constantly thwarted by the Moroccans.
"Here in Australia we welcome the decision of Wesfarmers to put imports of phosphate from Bou Craa on hold for a year, and hope that they will keep refraining from using this product until the question of Western Sahara is resolved." he said.
In the evening a dinner was held in Melbourne attended by the honorary consul for Timor Leste, Rae Kingsbury and her husband, Professor Damien Kingsbury, Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights.
Speaking for AWSA, Donald Smith talked about the historic protest camp at Gdeim Izik and the unjust trial and sentences just handed down to 24 Saharawi civilians by a military tribunal in Rabat.
A letter to the Moroccan Minister for Justice was signed by those present calling for the release of these prisoners.
Guest speaker for the occasion was well-known refugee advocate and writer, Arnold Zable, president of International PEN Melbourne. He emphasised how the Saharawis have developed their democratic society in the refugee camps, saying that the world needs the Saharawis to have a chance to translate this into a functioning democracy in their own country, Western Sahara, the source concluded.