About 10,000 people cheered the proclamation of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic at a small desert oasis in the Western Sahara on Friday (27 February) night.
SV crowds gathered for ceremony in desert.
SCU Mr. El Ouali, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front speaking to journalist.
SV flag is raised with people cheering and firing guns ( 3 shots )
SV man firing gun and crowd cheers
CU women firing sten gun
SV crowd gathered around fire during dancing and signing.
Initials RH/1910 RH/TA/AW/1930
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Background: About 10,000 people cheered the proclamation of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic at a small desert oasis in the Western Sahara on Friday (27 February) night.
The Polisario Front, the Saharan nationalist group, declared the Western Sahara a republic at midnight in a carnival atmosphere at the small oasis of Bir Lahlou, 80 miles (139 kilometres) south-west of the Algerian Border. The Front's Secretary General Mr. El Ouali, 34-year-old lawyer, made the declaration. Two young militia boys then hoisted the Polisario flag--black, white and green with a red triangle--while a detachment of guerrillas presented arms, men and women fired guns and people danced and cheered.
The Front said the Republic would be non-aligned, progressive and Moslem.
Algeria is backing the Front which disputes the pact made in Madrid, Spain, last November under which Spain agreed to hand over the Western Sahara, which has rich phosphate deposits, to Morocco and Mauritania, Spain's 100 years of colonial rule ended last Thursday (26 February).
The Malagasy Republic became the first country to recognise the new republic on Friday(27 February). Algeria and Libya are expected to follow soon.
The proclamation is expected to cause a new diplomatic and military turn in the Western Sahara. The Polisario Front will probably set up a provisional government with Mr. El Ouali at its head to press its claim to represent the Saharan people internationally.
Algeria and Libya have already provided the Front with the military means to fight a guerrilla war and the Algerian semi-official daily newspaper El Moudjahid said on Friday that the proclamation of the new republic was the beginning of a new phase in the struggle to liberate the western Sahara.