Mar 25 2013
|more articles from|
Morocco police attack Sahrawis during UN visit - Algeria TV
Monday, Mar 25, 2013
ALGIERS (AFP)--Moroccan police violently dispersed a protest by separatists in the Western Sahara, Algerian TV and rights activists reported Monday, during a visit to the disputed territory by United Nations 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.
"Plainclothes police beat up the activists, many of them women, to prevent the protest. It happens every time there is a visit by a U.N. or human rights official," he said, adding that security in the region had been heavily reinforced.
Speaking in Rabat 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.
The U.N. envoy traveled Sunday to Dakhla, 500 kilometers 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 and the Polisario Front have held numerous rounds of U.N.-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 recognized by the international community, and has proposed broad autonomy for the phosphate-rich territory under its sovereignty.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.