Morocco's official news agency says eight foreigners have been expelled for supporting prisoners convicted for their roles in deadly protests in Western Sahara.

The MAP agency said authorities believed the two French nationals, one Belgian and five Spaniards planned to "undermine public order."

Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975.

In November, Human Rights Watch called for the release or retrial of 21 indigenous people — known as Sahrawis — who were arrested for participating in the 2010 Gdeim Izik protest camp outside Laayoune.

In 2010, Moroccan police clashed with thousands of locals in Gdeim Izek who were protesting against what they saw as government discrimination. Human Rights Watch said 11 police and two civilians were killed.