11 November, 2010

Crackdown in Western Sahara

There are a reports of a crackdown by Moroccan government forces against residents of a refugee camp in Western Sahara, the territory that has been under Moroccan occupation since the end of the Spanish colonial regime. Saharawi* sources are claiming 11 of their people killed, while the Moroccan authorities are saying that 5 members of the security forces were killed by separatists.

Efforts by supporters of Western Saharan independence have largely failed because the Moroccan regime is in with the right people – leaders of the USA and major EU countries see it as a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism and are loth to antagonise it by asking embarrassing questions about the occupation of Western Sahara, the illegal planting of Moroccans there, and the failure to hold a referendum on independence for the country. My understanding is that the EU has also signed a fisheries deal with Morocco, in which that country's king has basically agreed to let European trawlers steal the fish of the Western Saharans.

Deadly clashes as Morocco breaks up Western Sahara camp (BBC)

*the name by which the people of Western Sahara call themselves

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