Miners at Jbel Awam in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco were arrested after police invaded their camp on Tuesday morning.
Auxiliary forces and the royal gendarmerie arrived at 4am and used violence to disperse the men, women and children camped outside the mine. 29 workers were arrested and taken to the gendarmerie headquarters in Mrirt. Families and friends of those arrested have been gathered in front of the headquarters since Wednesday, demanding their release.
200 miners at Jbel Awam have been on strike, camped out next to the mine, since July 4th. They are demanding the rehiring of sacked miners and equal pay and conditions for temporary workers. These workers have been working as miners below ground but this is not recognised and they are treated as surface workers. The mine averages about 14 to 16 accidents a month and four fatal accidents a year but the injured workers do not have insurance cover as they are hired by a sub-contractor. The miners are also opposing pollution from the mine that is poisoning a river.