Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

World's barriers: Western Sahara

Sahrawi independence activist (top right) and men looking for landmines (top right - images David Siro), Moroccan soldiers on the border (bottom)
The Sahrwari (top left) and Morocco both claim Western Sahara (images:David Siro and Getty)

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC Mundo looks at barriers which are still standing - or have gone up since - around the world.

The Sahrawi and Moroccans who inhabit the Western Sahara have been disputing the rightful ownership of the land since Spain ended its occupation of the area and withdrew in 1976.


In 1980, having attained the land for themselves, the Moroccans began building a wall in the desert.

It said the wall was to defend itself from the Polisario Front - a political and military movement which seeks independence from Morocco and autonomy for the Sahrawi people.

The wall, completed in 1987 is in reality a collection of six different defence walls.

Its total span is more than 2,700km (1,677 miles), and is made up of a mixture of sand and stone, barbed wire, ditches and mine fields.

Human rights organisations refer to it as the "wall of shame" and condemn the use of anti-personnel landmines along its length.

The Moroccan government, for its part, says that it has cleared the desert of mines and deactivated 65,000 of them.

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