Several thousand people have protested in Madrid against Morocco over recent violence in Western Sahara.
It follows last Monday’s dismantling by Moroccan security forces of a refugee camp in the former Spanish colony.
Madrid has called for an explanation. The international film star Javier Bardem was among the protesters, calling on western countries to take a stronger stance.
“The support to Morocco from all the countries in the world almost – especially France, Spain and the United States – is giving Morocco the right to do whatever it wants with the people, and without condemning the violence,” said the actor. “We can’t forget that it’s an occupied territory and that they are doing whatever they want with nobody condemning what they are doing. And we are talking here about people being murdered.”
Morocco is offering more autonomy for the disputed territory which it annexed in 1975 after the Spanish left. But the Polisario Front, backed by Algeria, wants full independence for Western Sahara.
The camp near the regional capital Laayoune was set up by thousands of displaced Sahrawi people to protest over living conditions.
Morocco says 12 people died in the raid; separatists say dozens were killed and thousands injured or detained.