Morocco's King Hassan rode through the streets of the Western Saharan town of Dakhla on Tuesday (4 March) in a colourful show of Morocco's pledge to protect the area.
TGV Band marching through decorated streets of Dakhla in the Western Sahara
TV Moroccan King Hassan on horseback surrounded by people in traditional robes
TV People following King Hassan as he rides through streets and greets people (4 shots)
GV King Hassan continues to ride in procession through streets
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Background: Morocco's King Hassan rode through the streets of the Western Saharan town of Dakhla on Tuesday (4 March) in a colourful show of Morocco's pledge to protect the area. And local people turned out to express their continued allegiance to the Moroccans and their monarch.
SYNOPSIS: Dakhla is part of the area ceded by the Spanish in 1976 and taken over by the Mauritanians. But war with the Polisario Front forced the Mauritanians to abandon the area and the Moroccans moved in, adding the land to their claim of the Western Sahara. Morocco has pledged to defend Dakhla against what they call aggression from the Polisarios.
King Hassan's ride through the streets was one of a series of displays to show the Moroccan presence in the area. Moroccan officials say they were invited to the town shortly after the Mauritanians withdrew in the summer of 1979.
At that time local leaders flew to Rabat to pledge their allegiance to the Moroccan monarch. King Hassan's visit comes at a time when the Polisarios have pledged to step up their action against Moroccan forces in the disputed Western Sahara.