Western Sahara protesters clash with police over U.N. resolution

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 29, 2013 4:55 PM

RABAT (Reuters) - Western Saharan demonstrators clashed with Moroccan police on Monday after the U.N. Security Council renewed a peacekeeping resolution that they said did not adequately address human rights abuses.

Dozens of protesters and police have been injured since the protests started in Laayoune, the biggest city of the Moroccan-controlled territory, on Friday, a day after the U.N resolution was passed extending a peacekeeping mission for one year, human rights groups and local media said.

Hmoud Iguilid of the Moroccan Human Rights Association said he counted three injured people on Monday, including a young woman hit by a police van. There was no immediate comment from Moroccan authorities.

For decades Morocco has insisted that Western Sahara should come under its sovereignty, but the Algeria-backed Polisario Front independence movement contends it is a sovereign state.

Morocco holds about 80 percent of the territory - a sparsely populated tract of desert with phosphates and, potentially, oil and gas - and the Polisario the rest, including refugee camps.

(Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)