Protesters and security forces clashed in the Western Saharan capital of Laayoune following peaceful protests by supporters of the Polisario Front who were calling for self-determination and the expansion of the UN mission in the disputed territory. This comes at a time when Morocco has been moving towards oil extraction in the Atlantic off the coast of Western Sahara, and the UN seems to be moving to monitor human rights abuses through MINURSO. Continue reading
Algeria has recently confirmed its support for Western Saharan self-determination. The issue has been a dark spot on Algerian-Moroccan relations for decades. Morocco considers the territory, a former Spanish colony, to be a part of its southern lands, and has denied Sahrawi attempts for a referendum on self-determination. The Polisario Front and representatives of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic are based in southern Algeria.