Western Sahara: 30,000 demonstrators in Laayoune demand autonomy, departure of MINURSO

hamdiMore than 30,000 people took to the street Saturday night in Laayoune, the main town in Western Sahara, to call for the adoption of the autonomy plan as the sole and unique solution for the settlement of the regional conflict and for the end of the UN mission, MINURSO, in the territory.

The demonstration took place in the wake of the firm speech delivered by King Mohammed VI on Friday, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Green March, which marks the departure of the Spanish colonial power from Western Sahara and the territory recovery by Morocco in 1975.

In this speech from the city of Laayoune, the Moroccan sovereign has directly pointed the finger at Algeria for its responsibility in the perpetuation of the conflict. He also held Algeria responsible for the long lasting humanitarian tragedy prevailing in the Polisario-controlled camps in Tindouf, Algeria.

Elected officials, community leaders, civil society activists and thousands of citizens participated in the demonstration.

They called for an end to the ordeal in the Tindouf camps where the Sahrawis have been enduring for 40 years all kinds of deprivation and denial of their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of movement outside the camps.

The thousands of demonstrators decried the unbearable situation in the camps, demanded to put an end to the plight of the Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, and pressed Algeria to enable them to return home to live with dignity.

The demonstrators’ desire to see their kin in the Tindouf camps come back home to share the life of dignity and prosperity prevailing in Western Sahara was stimulated by the brighter prospects in these provinces promised by King Mohammed VI who announced in his Friday speech the launch of the regionalization plan in the territory.

Parallel to the regionalization plan, the monarch announced a new model of development in Western Sahara, based on the launch of major infrastructure projects and integrated development projects. Overall, more than €7 billion would be earmarked for these projects over the coming years.

While the demonstration was at its height, King Mohammed VI, who usually drives through the cities he is visiting without any formality, drove by chance near the thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of MINURSO. It was the perfect opportunity for them to renew their attachment to the sovereign and their determination to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the country.

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