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Morocco, Western Sahara, Green March, 1975

Immanuel Ness


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The Green March was a mass trek of 350,000 Moroccans into Western Sahara (former Spanish Sahara) on November 6, 1975 to claim the mostly desert territory from a regional insurgency and to declare control over the territory as a contiguous and connected subset of a “Greater Morocco.” The “march” allowed the Moroccan state to triumph over countries in the Western Sahara region, which was contested by the Polisario Front, an acronym for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro), a national liberation organization formed by Moroccan students of Sahrawi descent. While neighboring Algeria and Mauritania claimed the territory, the Green March proved decisive in consolidating a large territory of 103,000 square miles with fewer than 500,000 people composed of Sahrawi and Moroccan descendants. The goal of Moroccan King Hassan II was to present the world with a fait accompli occupation that would be irreversible. When the hundreds of thousands of unarmed Moroccans surged over the border, the Spanish border guards were under orders not to shoot in order to prevent bloodshed over territory the Spanish were abandoning as a colony. The marchers had assembled in the southern Moroccan city of Tarfaya to await the signal to advance from King Hassan II. When the order was issued the marchers advanced with ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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