Morocco cops attack Sahrawis – report

2013-03-25 19:24

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Algiers - Moroccan police violently dispersed a protest by separatists in the Western Sahara, Algerian TV and rights activists reported on Monday, during a visit to the disputed territory by the UN envoy Christopher Ross.

The independent Ennahar TV channel broadcast images of plainclothes Moroccan police beating Sahrawi men and women in Laayoune, chasing them through the streets and dragging some of them along the ground.

"The police violently dispersed Sahrawi activists who attempted to stage a protest demanding the independence of the Western Sahara," an unidentified activist was quoted as saying.

Mahmoud Iguilid, the Laayoune representative of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, confirmed the violent suppression of Sahrawi activists, which he said took place on Saturday, before a planned protest to coincide with Ross's visit.

"Plainclothes police beat up the activists, many of them women, to prevent the protest. It happens every time there is a visit by a UN or human rights official," he told AFP, adding that security in the region had been heavily reinforced.

Ross flew to Laayoune on Friday for a four-day visit to the disputed region, only his second since being appointed in 2009, aimed at reviving direct peace talks between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front separatists.

Speaking in Rabat on Thursday after meeting top Moroccan officials, Ross said a solution to the decades-old conflict was "more urgent than ever," in view of the heightened insecurity across the Sahel region.

Informal talks

The UN envoy travelled on Sunday to Dakhla, 500km south of Laayoune, and was due to leave the territory and head to Algeria's western Tindouf region on Monday to visit the Sahrawi refugees camps there.

Morocco said last year that it no longer had confidence in Ross but later agreed to support the US diplomat, who said on arrival in Laayoune that he hoped "to meet with as broad a selection of interlocutors as possible".

Morocco and the Polisario Front have held numerous rounds of UN-hosted informal talks on the Western Sahara, but Ross halted these last year with both sides refusing to make concessions.

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975, in a move not recognised by the international community, and has proposed broad autonomy for the phosphate-rich territory under its sovereignty.

But this is rejected by the Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to a referendum on self-determination and launched its struggle for independence even before the annexation.

A guerrilla war lasted until 1991 when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire, but a permanent settlement remains elusive.

Read more on:    un  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mobile Marketing Manager

Western Cape
Recruit Digital
R15 000 - R22 000 Per Month

In bound Supervisor

Western Cape
Peoplefinder Career Placements

Engineering Manager

Western Cape
Pro-Tech Recruitment
R850 000 - R1 100 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.