The Polisario Front, the guerrilla movement fighting for independence in the Western Sahara, has celebrated its tenth anniversary near the Algerian town of Tindouf.
SV Polisario Front secretary, General Mohamed Abd El-Asis and Defence Minister Ibrahim Ghali, cheered by crowds as they arrive. (2 SHOTS)
GV Crowds at celebrations chanting support.
SV Men in national dress cheering. (2 SHOTS)
SV Women soldiers march past in parade followed by men and Red Cross unit. (4 SHOTS)
SV Trucks towing guns in parade. (2 SHOTS)
SV VIPs on reviewing podium watching military vehicles pass. (3 SHOTS)
GV Crowds waving Algerian flags as youth movements march past. (3 SHOTS)
GV Crowds walking towards exhibition hall. (2 SHOTS)
SVs INTERIOR Crowds looking at carpets and other handicrafts. (5 SHOTS)
GV Crowds leaving exhibition hall.
GV Captured weapons including guns, armoured cars. (7 SHOTS)
SV Remains of shot-down Moroccan aircraft. (2 SHOTS)
SV Prisoners. (3 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Polisario Front, the guerrilla movement fighting for independence in the Western Sahara, has celebrated its tenth anniversary near the Algerian town of Tindouf. The occasion was marked by a show of military strength and support from Western Sahara's neighbouring ally, Algeria. Surrounded by crowds of supporters the Polisario Front secretary, General Mohamed Abd El-Asis and Defence Minister Ibrahim Ghali, watched a march-past of some eight thousand fighters, including women battalions and the Polisario youth corps. There were also lines of military vehicles, among them Brazilian armoured personnel carriers supplied by Libya, and weapons displays, many of them captured from the Moroccans. Also on show was the remains of a Moroccan aircraft, show-down by the Polisario. It was clearly intended as evidence that the Front could not only sustain a long struggle, but that it was capable of governing effectively. The Polisario Front was established on May 20, 1973 to fight for liberation from the territory's Spanish colonisers. At the same time it declared itself sole representative of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and set-up a national administration. In November 1975 Spain relinquished control but in a trilateral conference handed over administering power to Morocco and Mauritania. Mauritania later withdrew, but the Polisario continued a bitter struggle against the Moroccans who have fortressed the north western corner, the most valuable, for its wealth of phosphates. Although the United Nations has recognsied the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic's right to independence and self-determination the war with Morocco has raged for seven years with Algeria playing a major role in the background. But Algeria is finding the burden of supporting the Polisario guerrillas a costly one; earlier this year moves were a foot to bring about a solution in talks between Morocco's King Hassan and Algerian President Chadli Benjedid.