NZ protesters block road to Ravensdown plant in Dunedin to protest trade in “blood Phosphate” from Western Sahara

Dunedin (New Zealand) 05 September 2019 (SPS)- Environmental Justice Ōtepoti, a New Zealand non-profit community group, and some of its supporters blocked the road out of the Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Dunedin, to protest the company’s imports of illegally mined Phosphate from occupied territories of Western Sahara, on Thursday.

Around 20 activists supporting the group gathered at Moller Park, in the suburb of Ravensbourne, to protest the arrival of Amoy Dream, a ship carrying illegally mined phosphate rocks from the occupied territory of Western Sahara, against the will of Saharawi people and their representative, Polisario Front.

The group of protesters blocked the road stopping trucks carrying the company's product from leaving the plant, raising placards denouncing this illegal trade and labelling the product as "blood phosphate", in reference of the use of its revenues by Morocco to maintain the military occupation of the last colony in Africa.

The group issued a press release in which it explains its demands emphasizing that the protest is an “(un)welcoming RAVE Party” to receive this ship carrying stolen goods from Western Sahara.

“Ravensdown must stop funding the occupation of Western Sahara, preventing the Sahrawi people returning home to their indigenous lands, whom have been refugees for more than 40 years,” the group’s press release indicated.

“The ethical consequences of our choices are not present in our lives” said Jack Brazil, spokesperson for Environmental Justice Ōtepoti. “Here in Dunedin we have the opportunity to help liberate the Sahrawi peoples by halting all blood-phosphate trade. The onus is on Ravensdown to take the moral step to stop being complicit in the oppression of the Sahrawi peoples,” he added.

“Environmental Justice Ōtepoti supports the right to self determination of the Saharawi people” said Mr Brazil, “ Ravensdown and Ballance should stop dealing in Blood Phosphate until they get a referendum for their independence.”

The people of Western Sahara are calling for Ravensdown LTD and Ballance agri-nutrients to “stop stealing their future”. The two New Zealand fertilizer cooperatives are the last two companies that still import from the occupied region apart from one Indian company partially owned by the Moroccan royal family. Representative of the Polisario Front, Kamal Fadel says that the phosphate trade “funds the occupation.”

090/500/60 (SPS)