Spanish demonstrators arrested by Moroccan police in West Sahara
A group of Spanish demonstrators were arrested in the West Saharan city of El-Aiun in an unauthorized protest demonstration, Spain's state broadcaster RNE reported Sunday.
The report said that Moroccan security forces moved in to break up the demonstration which was staged to protest against human rights violations in Morocco, dpa reported.
El-Aiun is the capital of the West Sahara, the former Spanish colony which Morocco annexed after Spain's pullout in 1975.
The RNE report said 11 Spaniards were arrested, while three others fled to a hotel. Later, the 14 demonstrators, members of a West Sahara initiative based on the Canary Islands, were being detained in a Spanish cultural centre in El-Aiun.
The group members charged that they were brutally mistreated by the Moroccan police.
A Spanish diplomat was en route to the West Sahara to gain their release and arrange for their return to Spain, the report said.
The incident threatened to add further to Spanish-Moroccan tensions after the recent dispute over border controls in Spain's exclave of Melilla. Morocco accused Spanish border guards of mistreating African travellers.