The first group of 40,000 Moroccans crossed the Morocco Spanish Sahara border on Wednesday (5 November) on their "peace march" to lay claim to the neighbouring territory.
LV Phalanx of marchers.
SV marchers in groups with books (2 shots).
SV organisers hoist barrier.
SV marchers across border and chanting (4 shots).
SV marchers carrying Moroccan flags PAN to modern complex.
SV PAN massed marchers with Moroccan flags across desert.
GV marchers past demonstrator on roof and complex with flag
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The first group of 40,000 Moroccans crossed the Morocco Spanish Sahara border on Wednesday (5 November) on their "peace march" to lay claim to the neighbouring territory.
The march, which is the idea of Morocco's King Hassan, has been condemned by nearby Algeria and the United Nations. An attempt by the UN's Security Council to call the march off arrived shortly after it had begun. King Hassan replied that the marchers had already set off. "My decision has been taken," he said.
It is not known what reaction the unarmed marchers will receive when they come to the Spanish Foreign Legion border post drawn up some ten miles inside the country on the road to the capital El Aaiun for which they are making. There are minefields on either side of the road near the Foreign Legion border post and signs in Arabic, French and Spanish warning of the danger.
Moroccan Premier Ahmed Osman is leading the marchers who are mainly volunteers from the Moroccan Provinces of Ourazate and Ksar El Souk. They were the first to arrive at the base camp to Tarfaya.
The vanguard group carried large numbers of Moroccan flags. They were accompanied by official delegation from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Gabon.
The rest of the 350,000 volunteers assembled by King Hassan for the mass march are still waiting on the Moroccan side of the border for orders to go across.