Two dead, dozens injured after clashes in Western Sahara

November 8th, 2010 - 9:24 pm ICT by BNO News  

RABAT, MOROCCO (BNO NEWS) — At least two people were killed and seventy others were hurt after violent clashes broke out between protesters and Moroccan security forces in the disputed territory in the Western Sahara, officials said on Monday.

Police dispersed the protesting camp of the Polisario Front on the outskirts of the city of Laayoune, the region’s main city. The camp, which was made up of around 12,000 people, refused several orders to leave the area, moments before talks in New York about the future of the disputed phosphate-rich territory.

Morocco, which annexed the territory in 1975, is seeking autonomy for the area, while the Polisario Front has been seeking independence for the Western Sahara. For decades, both sides have had confrontations.

During the unrest, two fires were seen in the city, and hundreds of people fought with police officers throughout the streets of Laayoune. Morocco’s official news agency said two security personnel were killed, while 70 others had been injured.

The Western Sahara region was a Spanish colony but, after it withdrew, Morocco annexed the region. Polisario Front has fought a guerrilla war against Morocco until the United Nations negotiated a ceasefire in 1991.

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