Politics Threaten Dakar Rally

Paul Carruthers | December 27, 2000

According to a report on Eurosport, the Polisario Front independence movement threatened on Saturday to break a U.N.-brokered ceasefire and disrupt the Paris-Dakar rally when it crosses from Morocco into the disputed Western Sahara. The movement, backed by Algeria, said that to have the rally go through Western Sahara was “an insult to the Sahrawi people, a challenge to the United Nations, and therefore a violation of the ceasefire in effect since September 1991,” the report states.

The 23rd Paris-Dakar rally starts from the French capital on New Year’s Day before a 6200-mile trek across southern Europe and North Africa to Senegal. The Polisario, in a communique carried by Algeria’s official APS news agency monitored in Rabat, said it would “take up arms again on the day the rally crosses the Moroccan-Sahrawi border.” This “resumption of military activities will be in self-defence,” it added. The race reaches Morocco on January 4 and crosses into Western Sahara on January 7.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.