Western Sahara “Intifada” grows

The Intifada which has broken out in Morocco-occupied Western Sahara continues too grow, and has even spread to Morocco proper. Yesterday, bludgeon-wielding police raided a university campus in Rabat to break up a protest by Saharawi students held in solidarity with demonstrators in the occupied territory. Students hurled stones at the police, and injuries were reported on both sides. (AlJazeera, May 28)

The protest wave seems to have taken everybody by surprise. It began on May 23 in Western Sahara’s capital El Aaiun (Laayoune), as well-known human rights activists held a march against limited freedoms. Apparently spontaneously, they were joined by hundreds of Saharawi citizens, protesting against the Moroccan occupation and calling for independence. When police violently dispersed the march, thousands took to the streets, and police responded with tear gas and mass arrests. (Afrol News, May 27)

The Moroccan parliament has responded to the crisis not by condmening the repression in Western Sahara, but by voting unanimously May 26 to condemn the recent statements by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in support of independence for the occupied territory (“aimed at foiling Morocco’s efforts to achieve its territorial integrity”). (Morocco Times, May 27)

See our last post on the Western Sahara Intifada.