Sunday, 8 November 2015

40th Anniversary of the Green March

Friday was the 40th Anniversary of the Green March when Morocco claimed back Western Sahara from the Spanish, utilising the political uncertainty in Spain as Franco was in his last illness.
The Anniversary is always a National Holiday and this year being the 40th rather more was made of it. As it also fell on a Friday the celebrations spread over a long weekend. Kong Mohammed VI went to Laayoune for the event and a celebration football match was held with various international stars including Marodona, George Weah, Mustapha Hadji and Francesco Toldo.
 The King's speech which is always broadcast at 8.30pm ws delayed by 2 hours causing some concern. In it he ruled out further compromise beyond the offer of administration as an automonous region; confirmed that revenues from the region would continue to listed there, setting out current planned projects, including a desalination plant; and lashed out at Algeria for not doing more for the refugees in Tindouf. It is the general opinion here that the Algerian Generals take Western money to support the refugees and then divert the Aid for their own benefit.
Meanwhile Morocco has declared the UN special envoy Christopher Ross persona non grata in the Western Sahara and insist he meets only with officials in Rabat. 30,000 Saharwis  demonstrated outside the MINURSO Headquarters for them to leave. (MINURSO is the UN Agency charged with organising the self-determination referendum.)
Here in Taroudant there was a "festival" near the Governors Palace. We did not attend but saw flag bedecked lorries ferrying in hundreds of small boys.They could be heard chanting . It was in arabic so we've no idea what they were saying but could have joined in because the rhythm was exactly that of 1970s demo chants of "The people united will never be defeated.

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