On December 8, 1975, the Algerian government began expelling thousands of Moroccan citizens from the country in response to the November 6 Green March.
Rabat – An international collective is again launching an appeal for Algerian authorities to acknowledge the 1975 expulsion of Moroccans from Algeria.
The International Collective in Support of Families of Moroccan Families from Algeria (CIEMA) is reminding Algeria of the “heavy” responsibility it bears for the expulsion.
The group called on “all people animated by the principles of solidarity and mutual respect” to join their campaign to remind Algerian authorities of the trauma thousands of Moroccans suffered.
CIEMA aims to establish the Algerian government’s “recognition of the prejudices suffered by thousands of Moroccan citizens victims of expulsion in 1975 … and to rehabilitate their dignity so that episodes as dramatic as this no longer happen again in our history.”
On December 8, 1975, the Algerian government began expelling thousands of Moroccan citizens who were legally established in Algeria for decades.
The expulsion of Moroccans from Algeria came during Eid Al Adha celebrations and in the aftermath of the Green March. The Green March was a watershed event in Morocco’s history, when 350,000 unarmed Moroccans marched into the Sahara desert on November 6, 1975, to protest Spain’s occupation of the Western Sahara region.
Relations between Morocco and Algeria soured after the Sand War of 1963. A decade later, Algeria began financing the Polisario Front, which initially called for an end to the Spanish presence in the Sahara.
Polisario later claimed to be the representative of the Sahrawi people and demanding an independent state in Western Sahara, still enjoying the support of Algeria.
The expulsion of Moroccans from Algeria after the 1975 Green March was a demonstration of Algeria’s opposition to Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. By 1976, in the era of President Houari Boumediene, Algeria had expelled more than 40,000 Moroccans.
In its appeal for Algeria to recognize the expulsion, CIEMA noted that many of the expelled individuals fought for Algeria against the French.
The group said in a press release that Algeria’s 1975 expulsion drove thousands of women, men, children, the elderly, and disabled people towards the Moroccan border. The collective said it decided to turn Moroccans’ pain and suffering into “a great exercise in resilience,” with the aim to understand and analyze a “forgotten historic moment.”
“The events of December 1975 are, today, known to the general public and to international bodies, which have taken up the issue, such as the UN Human Rights Council and the Committee for the Protection of Migrant Workers,” the press release said.
CIEMA said that although the facts of the expulsion have been obscured and questioned, documents in Geneva prove the distribution of enormous quantities of food, tents, and blankets to camps in Morocco starting in December 1975.
The collective said the thousands of tons of milk, hundreds of thousands of blankets, and tents that Morocco mobilized to host the expelled families are just the visible part of the iceberg.