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Morocco: MPs blast ‘lack of debate’ over ongoing unrest

31st May 2017
Morocco: MPs blast ‘lack of debate’ over ongoing unrest

By Mohamed al-Taheri and Khaled Majdoub

 

RABAT (AA): Moroccan MPs on Tuesday criticized both the government and the opposition for what they described as the “absence of parliamentary debate” over a recent wave of social unrest in the country’s north.

Over the last three days alone, 40 activists were arrested in the northern Al-Rif region for taking part in what some government officials have described as an “armed insurrection”.

Since last October, Morocco’s Al-Rif region — especially the city of Hoceima — has been plagued by intermittent protests by local youth demanding more job opportunities and an end to perceived government corruption.

During a demonstration on Sunday, the authorities arrested Nasser Zefzafi, the head of Morocco’s opposition Hirak movement, along with 22 other activists.

The wave of demonstrations was initially sparked last October by the death of Mohsen Fikri, a fisherman who was crushed to death by a garbage truck in Hoceima while protesting attempts by local authorities to confiscate his fish.

In a related development Monday, three political parties held Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit responsible for failing to contain the ongoing wave of unrest.

In a joint statement, the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), the Socialist Union Party (a JDP coalition partner) and the opposition Istiqlal Party called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of all those recently detained for taking part in protests.

They went on to blame the state for allowing the situation to deteriorate by “marginalizing the role played by political parties and corrupting the region’s political life”.

The three parties also urged the state to meet protesters’ demands by stepping up development of the affected region rather than pursuing “a purely security-based solution” to the crisis.

[Photo: Hundreds of demonstrators hold placard as they take part in a demonstration to show their solidarity with people who were arrested, at parliamentary building in Rabat, Morocco on May 28, 2017. Protesters in Al Husheima, En Nador, Tangier, Casablanca and Tiznit, demanded release of arrested people. Photographer: Muhabiri Jalal Morchidi/AA]

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