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|Claimed by||Western Sahara and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic|
|Region||Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra|
El-Aaiún (also transliterated "Laâyoune" or "El Ayun")(Arabic: العيون, transliterated al-`ayūn), is a city in Western Sahara and a former Spanish colony. Occupied by Morocco since 1976, El-Aaiún is the capital of the Moroccan region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra. It is also claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as their de jure capital. The city is located at (27.153611, -13.203333).
The city has a population of 188,084 and is the largest city in Western Sahara. It is a growing economical pole in what Morocco sees as its Southern Provinces. Its population is a mixture of Moroccans from the North as well as Sahrawis from Southern Saharan Morocco and natives of Western Sahara.
"El Aaiún" is the transliteration of the Arabic name used as the Spanish name for the city. "Laâyoune" is a French transliteration even used in Moroccan literature. The Arabic name means "the springs".
In the area south of Tindouf, Algeria, there is a Sahrawi refugee camp named El-Aaiun, after this city.
Beginning in the spring of 2005, the Independence Intifada began demanding the release of political prisoners and demonstrations in favour of independence took part in some parts of the city, and a trend towards opening up the closed territory seems to have been broken off, with several expulsions of foreign journalists and human rights delegations, accused by the Moroccan authorities of serving as a pretext for the pro-independence activists to step up riots.