Sixth Moroccan dies following protest

RABAT, Feb 24, 2011 (AFP) – A Moroccan has died from wounds following February 20 demonstrations to press demands for political change in the kingdom, bringing the death toll in the unrest to six, a report said Thursday.

The state news agency MAP said the victim died “after being injured during acts of vandalism in the town.

Prosecutors have opened an inquiry and ordered an autopsy, the report added.

Earlier this week five bodies were found in the burnt remains of a bank.

Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui has blamed the violence on rioters and ex-convicts, saying they had damaged or set fire to 33 public buildings, 24 banks, 50 businesses or private buildings and 66 vehicles.

In total some 120 people were arrested and police were reported to have used tear gas on protesters.

Thousands of young Moroccans joined the “February 20” movement on the social networking site Facebook calling for peaceful demonstrations demanding a new constitution limiting King Mohammed VI’s powers and more social justice.

One of the initiators of the “February 20” drive, Oussama Khlifi, said protests would continue, with daily sit-ins called for in major towns, including Rabat and Casablanca.

The Morocco protests followed uprisings across the region, with those in Tunisia and Egypt causing their longtime presidents to quit.

In the latest violence, hundreds were killed in Libya as people revolted against the 41-year rule of Colonel Moamer Kadhafi.

Morocco regretted Libya’s unrestrained use of force against demonstrators, Communication Minister Khalid Naciri said Thursday.

Rabat “expresses its profound regret and its great consternation for the course of events in Libya, following the use of excessive force against civilian protesters,” said Naciri, who is also government spokesman.

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