Moroccan police, Sahrawis clash in pro-independence protest in Laayoune
Young protestors in Western Sahara's main city of Laayoune clashed with Moroccan security forces, according to Agence France-Presse Tuesday.
The demonstrators allegedly torched a police vehicle and "hurled petrol bombs" at security forces Monday evening, said Hamoud Iguilid from the Moroccan Association for Human Rights. The police also threw rocks and chased the protestors in return, he added.
Moroccan government sources said the police car was completely destroyed in the clash leaving the policeman hospitalized, but Iguilid told AFP that the no one was injured in the clash in the disputed annexed territory.
The protest was held in the Porco district of Laayoune with youths calling for independence from Morocco.
Morocco annexed the Western Sahara territory, a former Spanish colony, in 1975, but Rabat's move has never been officially recognized by the international community. Many Sahrawis from the annexed territory have been living in refugee camps in Algeria for decades, and neighboring Algiers has always been a staunch supporter of Sahrawi's pro-independence movement.
In recent years, the government has become increasingly criticized among international audiences for its human rights violations in the disputed territory.