Namibia: Mass Anti-Phosphate Mining Marches Planned

More than 1,000 people participated in the protest at Walvis Bay against marine phosphate mining. Most of those who participated were fishery workers.
9 September 2019

Mass marches to protest marine phosphate mining in Namibian waters have been planned to take place at Walvis Bay and Luderitz today, and in Windhoek tomorrow.

Namibia's biggest union federation, the National Union for Namibian Workers, is set to be part of the demonstrations today.

The union, which has thousands of members working in Namibia's fishing industry, is one of the main participants in this protest as it believes it has a legitimate reason to fear the impact of marine phosphate mining on its members' jobs.

A WhatsApp group, 'Phosphate Must Fall', which was created last week and has nearly 200 members, was used as the the point of mobilisation.

The main aim of the group was to sensitise on the envisaged demonstration at the High Court in Windhoek tomorrow, but this has developed into other protest marches at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz today.

It is understood from comments in the group that transport was even organised for prospective participants from Namibia's north to the coast and the capital.

"We must unite on this issue. The future of our marine resources is in jeopardy hence, a concerted effort is required to fight this stupid project. Phosphate mining is an idea that must be abandoned. Many countries have rejected the same initiatives. Why should it be done to our beloved country?

"Namibians must speak out against seabed mining. Marine phosphate mining has never been done anywhere else in the world and Namibian coastal waters are now facing the threat of being the testing ground. These concerns have not yet been adequately considered in Namibia," were some of the comments on the group, which also has marine scientists on the platform.

The aim of the protest is to deliver a vote of no confidence against certain leaders, as well as to urge decision makers to abandon the idea of marine phosphate mining. The contest for this controversial resource has come for several years now.

The Walvis Bay march will be from 12h00 to 14h00 from the Seaworks fishing company to the office of the environment ministry. At Lüderitz, a march is planned from Seaflower company to the Ministry of environment and tourism.

The march at Windhoek tomorrow will start from 06h30 from the National Union for Namibian Workers centre in Mugunda street to the High Court where a petition will be handed over to environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta.

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