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Requested Move[edit]

--Language politics! :-) I believe the page name should be changed to El-Aaiun, for the following reasons:

1. "Laâyoune" is another latin script of a transcription of DIALECT Arabic (one of the main by different tradition from the north or hassanic).

2. It is also a FRENCH transcription despite the fact that Western Sahara was never colonized by France. It thus has direct political implications, tying the city to Francophone Morocco, whereas the Spanish transcription "El-Aaiun" only states -- factually -- that the area has been under Spanish rule.

3. "El-Aaiun" was the name used by the last recognized sovereign (Spain).

4. "El-Aaiun" is significantly closer to any transcription from Arabic (al-aaiun, el-a'yun, el-a'youn, elayun or any variant of these) than "Laâyoune".

With all that said, I don't have a clue as to how to actually change it. Please help.



===>I agree Talk to an administrator to move the content of this page to "El Aaiun" and redirect. Justin (koavf) 14:15, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Support -- Wechselstrom 22:23, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support -- Chanheigeorge 23:12, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support (sorry for the copy-and-paste-thing) -- Arre 11:08, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support --Gareth Hughes 12:11, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Palmiro | Talk 14:14, 23 November 2005 (UTC)


I've added the proposed move Laâyoune → El Aaiún to Wikipedia:Requested_moves. Please avoid moving by "copy and paste" 'cos this does not move the history or the talk page. Chanheigeorge 11:20, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

I added the Requested Move template to this discussion page. Please indicate your votes above by specifying in bold either Support or Oppose. -- Wechselstrom 02:44, 22 November 2005 (UTC)


Page moved as requested. Rob Church Talk 22:38, 24 November 2005 (UTC)


Not that I really care, but locals, both immigrants and Sahrawis, pronounce it Laayoune (with an ain). I know this after living there for two years. PiCo 04:07, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the fact is, it's commonly known, by locals and visitors alike, as Laayoune, which is therefore the correct title. Not that I really care. zzz (talk) 03:26, 4 November 2014 (UTC)


Hi, I read your descriptions on the name changes. But I have never heard it by El Aaiun, I've always known the capital of Western Sahara to be Laayoune. Then again that's just me and I've never been or lived in Western Sahara.

Talk 17:37, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Variants I've most commonly read "El Aaiun." The Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara ISBN 0-8108-2661-5 lists it under "El-Ayoun" (which I've never seen in standard literature) with variants "El-Aaiun, El-Aioun, Laayoune." -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 17:06, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I think it depends of what language you use and that Laâyoune is the French transcription whereas El Aaiún is the Spanish. Since the Moroccan government use French and Spain also has interests in the region, the choice of name/language is politically charged. I guess people who promote Saharan independence tend to use Spanish and people against French. Personally, I cannot see how we possibly could find a solution to this problem as none of the names is NPOV. Aaker (talk) 18:03, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

POV issues[edit]

Refering to an Independence Intifada is a POV issue.


Sigh This city is occupied. To not mention that in the text is ridiculous. Confer, for instance, with Nablus. -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 04:27, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

The city is occupied from the POV of Polisario. the city is a Moroccan city like others from the Moroccan POV. Wikipedia is not to be used for POV pushing. The comparision with Nablus is ridiculous, and irrelevant because the situations of WS and Palestine are not to be compared.--A Jalil 06:48, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
POV Yes, it is occupied according to the POV of the Polisario, and the UN, and plain fact. This is false balance. You could just as easily go onto Talk:Holocaust and write "The slaughter of European Jewry happened from the POV of Polisario. It is a myth from the neo-Nazi POV. Wikipedia is not to be used for POV pushing." It is not "ridiculous" to mention Nablus - they are both occupied cities. Why are "WS and Palestine not to be compared?" They make for several excellent parallels. -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 16:04, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
From Nablus to the Holocaust to the .... The UN never called WS as occupied. I have already explained to you the Cuba declaration, drafted by Algeria, Cuba and Libya, that was put to the GA, not the SC of the UN. It has no weight in the UN. I refered you to the "Zionism=racism" resolution case. I will not go through that again and again. There is not a single person from Nablus that define him/herself as Israeli, whereas Elaiun is full of staunchly Moroccan Sahrauis, and it has known one of the greatest rates of participation in the latest Moroccan elections. Something to refute your comparision to Nablus.--A Jalil 09:53, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The UN called Western Sahara occupied. To give two examples:
UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 - November 21, 1979, vote: 85-6, with 41 abstentions reads in part:
"the aggravation of the situation resulting from the continued occupation by Morocco and the extension of that occupation to the territory recently evacuated by Mauritania"
Link to that session of the GA
Direct link to the pdf
UN General Assembly Resolution 35/19 - November 11, 1980, vote: 88-8, with 43 absentions reads in part:
"terminate the occupation of the territory of Western Sahara"
Link to that session of the GA
Direct link to the pdf
  • There are 14 Israeli settlements in Nablus, so there are plenty of staunchly Israeli Jews, and I'm sure it has a very fine voter turn-out rate as well. There are settler populations in both the West Bank and Western Sahara, so actually, you've just shown how they are similar. -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 16:29, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The resolutions you refer to are vote motions dratfed by Cuba and Algeria and put to the General Assembly. They are not binding the UN and are reflective of the majority of opinions at the time of the vote. They are not a UN position. The UN positions are made by the Security Council, where the voice of 1.5 Billion people in China is not equal to that of 15,000 people in Nauru. I gave you before, an example of the 1975 "Zionism=Racism" resolution voted by the General Assembly when the Arab states had support within the non-alligned movement and the East block. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the UN has voted another resolution to say that Zionism is not Racism. So, which of them is the position of the UN?. None. They are the opinion of the majority at a particular time and under particular international circumstances and national interests. So, the Cuban-Algerian drafted resolutions are to be seen under that angle, and not to be put on the account of the UN.
  • Khalli henna oueld arrachid and Hassan Derhem, and Ayoub, and Hadrami, .. are SAHRAWIS and MOROCCANS, and they claim it high. No Palestinian in Nablus do participate in Israeli elections. None of the Palestinians in Nablus claims he is Israeli. Don't mix things up.--A Jalil 09:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I suppose that you consider the ARABS THAT PARTICIPATE IN ISRAELI ELECTIONS as something totally different from Palestinians, or perhaps you even dont consider them Arabs...--HCPUNXKID (talk) 21:20, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as stub, and the rating on other projects was brought up to Stub class. BetacommandBot 22:19, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Population is wrong[edit]

This article says that the population of El Aaiun is 188,084, but according to the source it cites for this information, the most up-to-date population statistics say its population is 194,668, and even in the 2004 census it was 183,691. Jprulestheworld01 (talk) 19:31, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

188,084 was added in 2006, when it was accurate. I've updated it now. -kotra (talk) 23:54, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Western Sahara's disputed status[edit]

I have reverted again edits that presented Western Sahara as indisputably a Moroccan territory, disregarding Western Sahara's disputed status in nearly all authoritative sources (just as an example, the CIA World Factbook). Let's leave it as saying El Aaiún is managed by Morocco (which is not disputed) and allow people to go to the Western Sahara article for more information on the territorial claims. -kotra (talk) 05:52, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Rename to most Common English Language Name[edit]

Rename to Most Common English Form (Laayoun/Layoune) from non-used Spanish form[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved as requested Mike Cline (talk) 13:45, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

El AaiúnLaayoune – Rename to most common English language usage for city name. collounsbury (talk) 09:26, 29 April 2015 (UTC) I see there was a c. 2005-2006 rename to the Spanish transcription (el Aaiun) motivated by a set of users with a strong political POV (regarding W. Sahara independence and language usage around that). [edit to reformat for easier read]However, the most common English language name applied to the city is the French transcription, for example: re Encyclopedia usage,

Common English travel site usage also uses Laayoune e.g.


It goes without saying that international news agencies Reuters, BBC etc also style Laayoune as Laayoune, while at the same time not taking a position on the nationality, etc.

I will rename to motivate a revision of what was essentially a biased and POV change that flew under the radar. [edited - attempting to use the move template correct] collounsbury (talk) 09:29, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Of course all name variants should appear on the page and if need be, the variants political meanings can be discussed. However, the Wikipedia dominant name should follow the dominant English language usage, which as it happens favours the French language based transcription rather than the Spanish language based transcription (none of this should imply a position on the political issues).

collounsbury (talk) 11:45, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

@Collounsbury: If you want the page moved, it would be best to use the process involving {{Move}} so that other eyes can get on the page. After a proper discussion (which will likely prove non-controversial with your sources), then an admin can move the page. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:44, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Right I am not well versed in these items. I will follow that. collounsbury (talk) 09:23, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Now I remember why I stopped editing Wiki, good lord that is a dense and massively non-user friendly tool.
  • Support per nom but prefer Laâyoune which was the title of the article before the move several years ago. —  AjaxSmack  00:53, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
The Sole reason I have put forth Laayoune with out the diacritical to mark the âyn in the name is that this seems to be the most common form used in English, both from encyclopedic sources and from news and other other sources. I suppose that with redirects one can cover both, my inclination is merely to have a title following actual dominant English language usage, and not named for political purposes. collounsbury (talk) 10:19, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I too prefer Laâyoune to the proposed title, but I am incline to oppose any move. The atlas I regularly use (from 1994) has El Aaiún and it regularly employs local names. I do not believe the political issue can be dismissed as easily as the nominator suggests. Srnec (talk) 01:38, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
The local native name is in Arabic (Formal: العيون, al-ʿuyūn; Maghrebine pronunciation, لعيون, Laʕyūn). Neither then French nor the Spanish oriented transliteration are particularly 'native' nor local as such, although certainly with a French (as their international reference language, not as the official language of administration, which is Arabic) administration, Laayoune is clearly dominant. As my citations and any search say in Reuters, BBC or Bloomberg (etc) will easily show. The sole reason to put forth the Spanish transliteration (which is closest to Formal Arabic rather than the Maghrebine dialect pronunciation [there is no strong difference in this area between Saharan Hassani and S. Moroccan Chleuh influenced Arabic] which systematically eats the a in al and links the L to the actual noun) is to make a connection to certain political preferences. That is POV and un-encyclopaedic.

My cites already show neutral usage of Laayoun(e) highlighting the usage is (i) dominant in English and what most English speakers will ordinarily encounter outside of political activist circles, (ii) does not imply given the dominance of the usage in English a POV as to the political status of the W. Sahara or the city. It is worth highlighting that other cities formerly colonized by the Spanish (Tetouan / Tetuan, etc) will use both transcriptions but in English the French form dominates. There is no implied political POV in this (unlike in the adoption of the not-widely used (outside of certain POV political activist circles) Spanish translit. One form then is showing a POV while the other is - in English in general usage - neutral and common. collounsbury (talk) 10:19, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I would add that I also favour the un-accented form of Laayoune rather than the accented because here again this is the format that is widespread, common and 'neutral' in English, whereas the Laâyoune form is less used and tends to be French or specifically Moroccan derived, and there one may imply a POV - at the very least one does not have the clear evidence of being the common, dominant and neutral usage (again in ordinary English usage). The objective here is to have the English Wikipedia title be NPOV and reflect common English usage(e.g. see the Mecca pages and the POV push to rename as Makkah, which was reject on just this basis, as not reflecting NPOV common English usage). If need be a paragraph can be added (although it strikes me as bordering on the absurd, but...) on the issue of the naming. collounsbury (talk) 10:19, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: Seems to be much more common in recent reliable English-language texts. Britannica is a strong indicator. Laayoune is also the US Board on Geographic Names approved variant according to the GNS database. --RJFF (talk) 13:21, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Executed return to Laayoune name as per above consensus decision[edit]

Move to Spanish form was executed some months ago by an editor who apparently did not read Talk page, did not discuss and per his talk page, has been blocked for similar edits in the recent past. collounsbury (talk) 14:12, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

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