RABAT, Morocco – Protesters have clashed with government forces in Western Sahara after the U.N. Security Council extended a peacekeeping mission in the disputed territory — but without a mandate to monitor human rights.
Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1976 and has proposed autonomy for the mineral-rich territory. The Polisario Front seeks self-determination through a referendum on Western Sahara's future.
Conflicting reports emerged Saturday about clashes late Friday in the northern town of Laayoune. Hamoud Iguilid of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights said dozens chanted their hopes for rights monitors and protested peacefully. He said a young man who was hurt and a woman who lost a finger were among those injured.
The Security Council vote Thursday came after the U.S. abandoned the monitoring proposal amid strong Moroccan opposition.