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Moroccan Authorities Attack Western Saharan Activists Ahead of U.N. Vote

HeadlineApr 30, 2019

In Western Sahara, Moroccan authorities have swept out across the city of Laayoune in a bid to crush protests, as activists call for an referendum on the status of the territory and demand the release of political prisoners. Video clandestinely recorded and circulated on social media sites shows activists Mina Bali and Aziza Biza being beaten by plainclothes security officers as they protest peacefully in the streets of Western Sahara’s territorial capital. Mina Bali suffered broken bones in her hand requiring surgery. Meanwhile, Sultana Khaya, a famed Sahrawi activist who had her eye gouged out by a Moroccan police officer in 2007 during a peaceful protest, was stopped by authorities as she tried to enter Laayoune and was turned around. The latest crackdown on dissent by Morocco comes as the U.N. Security Council is set to vote today on an extension of the U.N.'s mandate in Western Sahara; Morocco is seeking to prevent U.N. peacekeepers there from adding human rights monitoring to their mandate. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975, and no other country on Earth recognizes its sovereignty over the territory. Click here to see our Democracy Now! special, “Four Days in Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony.”

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