- The Algerian press reports that world famous raï singer Khaled, an Algerian national, was assaulted by spectators while holding a concert in the Moroccan city Meknes. The assault is seen in connection with Khaled's waving of a Western Sahara flag at a recent concert in Spain.
According to the independent Algerian daily 'El Khabar', singer Khaled was assaulted during a recent concert he held in Morocco. Spectators had thrown items at the singer while on stage and a glass bottle reportedly hit his leg. Khaled thus interrupted his performance but later got back on stage. The act was understood as "a reprisal against the singer who waved the flag of the Western Sahara - occupied by Morocco - in one of his concerts in Spain," the newspaper writes.
Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, originating from the Algerian city of Oran, is vastly popular among North Africans, being one of the main developers of the music style raï. Khaled - his professional name as musician - has landed several international hits, and his song "Aïcha" is among the world's most sold songs ever.
His concert in Meknes was one of very few occasions the artist visited Morocco, a country in constant conflict with neighbouring Algeria. Algerian authorities support Western Sahara's right to independence, a demand that is reflected by most Algerians. Also Khaled has been a strong promoter of Western Sahara, lashing out against Morocco's continued occupation of the territory.
The raï singer created headlines and insulted several Moroccan fans as he waved with a Western Sahara flag during a 10 May concert in the southern Spanish town of Cáceres. A large part of audience was from the North African Diaspora in Spain, including many Moroccans.
At the Meknes concert, 'El Khabar' reports, Khaled also managed to alienate organisers by demanding he be paid in US dollars or euros, as Moroccan dirhams not can be changed in Algeria. Managers were able to get change for the dirhams in the middle of the night, assuring the Algerian singer could head home for Algeria with convertible currencies.
Khaled has maintained that he has nothing against Morocco or Moroccans, but only wants to protest the occupation of Western Sahara. He himself is married to a Moroccan woman.
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