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Morocco unbans YouTube

Was Western Sahara to blame?

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Video sharing website YouTube has been unbanned by the Moroccan government after five days of unavailability in the desert kingdom.

The site has been offline since 25 May, reportedly prompted by videos from the Western Saharan independence movement including footage of Moroccan police beating female independence protestors in Laayoune.

Such videos are available on the site among many calling for independence, and many calling for continued violence against such protests. Videos mocking the country's king are also still available.

A spokesman for Maroc Telecom told journalists the unavailability was due to a technical fault.

Reporters San Frontieres welcomed the change of heart from government-owned Maroc Telecom, which provides the vast majority of Moroccan internet connections. The group questioned how a "technical problem" could lead to just one website being blocked.

The Polisario has been fighting for independence for the Western Sahara since 1976 - first against Spanish occupation then, when the region was handed over, against Morocco. Since 1991 they have been observing a ceasefire imposed by the UN. ®

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