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Fatal clashes at Western Sahara protest camp

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Fatal clashes at Western Sahara protest camp


A police officer and a firefighter have been stabbed to death as Moroccan security forces entered a protest camp in Western Sahara.

The camp, home to 12,000 people near the capital, Laayoune, is the focal point of protest against Moroccan rule in a long-running dispute.

Reports suggest that as many as 70 people were injured in the violence.

Witnesses say the police launched the raid in the early hours, using helicopters and water cannon to drive people out.

Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco after Spanish settlers pulled out in 1975. But the Polisario Front waged a war against Rabat’s presence until a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991.

The Algerian-backed Polisario Front wants a UN-supported referendum on self-determination.
Morocco rejects any proposal that goes beyond greater autonomy.

Despite the violence, UN-hosted talks between the two sides have opened in New York.

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