An estimated 50,000 Moroccan volunteers -- the first wave of "peace march" to claim sovereignty for King Hassan over the Spanish Sahara -- began their second day inside the disputed territory on Friday (7 November).
GV PAN Marchers getting up at dawn.
SVS Marchers folding blankets and standing round camp fires. (2 shots)
SV King Hassan's portrait on pole.
GV Spanish helicopters overhead.
LV Moroccan police guarding marchers.
GV AND SV Marchers filling water barrels from truck. (2 shots)
SV Marchers pouring water from barrel into Kettle and water-bottle.
GV PAN Marchers at campsite at dawn.
Initials VS 20.30 VS 20.35
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Background: An estimated 50,000 Moroccan volunteers -- the first wave of "peace march" to claim sovereignty for King Hassan over the Spanish Sahara -- began their second day inside the disputed territory on Friday (7 November).
The marchers were camped twelve kilometres (8 miles) inside the border from Morocco....and only eight kilometres (5 miles) from the heavily-armed Spanish defence lines at Hyena Flats.
As the volunteers prepared for their second day on the road, Spanish troop helicopters prowled overhead, in the cold light of the desert dawn.
By the end of Friday, more than a quarter of a million Moroccans had crossed into the territory....with an estimated 80,000 more due to make the third wave the following day.
The advance is now a three-pronged affair, the main body directed from the Moroccan desert fortress of Tarfaya, the second stream 160 kilometres (100 miles) further east through the frontier oasis of Abbateh. Saturday's influx was due from the strategic frontier crossing of Zag, near Morocco's border with Algeria.
Spanish troops dug in along Hyena Flats have warned that they will fire above and -- if necessary -- at the marchers if they attempt to cross what the Spanish have called their "dissuasion" lines. In addition, the marchers face nearly half a kilometre (one quarter of a mile) of minefield in front of the Spanish lines.
As the crisis over the future of the territory continues, talks between Moroccan and Spanish officials have increased in urgency. On Friday, a top Spanish Cabinet Minister, Senor Antonio Carro Martinez, flew to Agadir for further discussions.
Meanwhile, there has been a flurry of conflicting reports on clashed between Moroccan troops and members of the Saharan liberation movement, Polisario, south of Zag. Guerrillas from the pro-Algerian organisation claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on Moroccan troops around Hausa, Echedria and El-Farsia. In contrast, a Moroccan military source in the border area said troops had surrounded a group of guerrillas.