10 arrests after weekend pro-democracy Morocco protests

Rabat – Fresh demonstrations took place over the weekend in Morocco, with police dispersing protesters in several cities where they had gathered to demand a more democratic constitution, the pro- democracy ‘February 20 Movement’ said Monday.

Rallies mobilized hundreds of people in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Marrakesh on Sunday.

Police dispersed the protesters mostly without violence, media reported. About 10 people were arrested in Tangier.

The authorities had warned organizers that unauthorized rallies would not be tolerated.

‘The people does not need permission to demonstrate,’ the ‘February 20 Movement’ said in a communique.

The Facebook group initiated the earlier demonstration which brought tens of thousands of people to the streets on February 20 across Morocco. Until then, Morocco had hardly been touched by the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world.

Smaller protests have been held constantly since then. Some of them demand a constitution reducing the vast powers of King Mohammed VI, though the monarchy itself is not questioned.

Other rallies focus on particular grievances such as academic unemployment, lack of drinking water or electricity, or nurses’ work conditions.

More than 200 protesters have gone or are due to go on trial, mainly on charges linked to street violence.

The ‘February 20 Movement’ has the backing of human rights groups, a few far-left parties, some Islamic fundamentalists and even of some sections of the Socialist party, which forms part of conservative Prime Minister Abbas el-Fassi’s government.


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