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MOROCCO: Rioting breaks out ahead of Sunday pro-reform protest

What began as a protest against foreign control of Moroccan public services Saturday escalated into anti-government rioting that could presage volatile gatherings Sunday in a planned nationwide day of protest in demand of reform.

Tanjanews.com reported that a small group in Tangier protesting utility contracts recently awarded to a French firm swelled to include hundreds who had to be contained by anti-riot police. The agency posted pictures on its website showing a vandalized car and smashed windows at the local office of French firm Veolia and the bank branch of Societe Generale.

No shots were fired and the demonstrators, complaining of inflated utility bills for services provided by foreign contractors, were dispersed without tear gas or force, the agency reported.

A coalition of Moroccan youth groups calling themselves the February 20 Movement has called for mass, peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier on Sunday to demand constitutional amendments to modernize the monarchy, resignation of the government and parliament, and recognition of the Berber language as official alongside Arabic.

The demonstration has won the support of former palace spokesman Hassan Aourid, a sign the royal family that has ruled for 350 years may be willing to cede key governing powers and continue to reign as figureheads as in Britain, Spain and other European countries.

The youthful activists of the February 20 Movement say they don't want to overthrow the monarchy, rather to gain its support for realignment of power in the kingdom.

-- Carol J. Williams

 

Comments () | Archives (5)

This protest in Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier will not degenerate into the fighting we saw in Egypt and other places. Moroccans are not a violent people. They are a peace loving nation. No one need be frightened to be here, or frightened for us. I am an Australian and feel safe and secure in this country. I have faith in Morocco.

A small gathering demonstrating against a utility contract does not constitute a riot. The demonstrations in Morocco have been tiny and non confrontational. This kind of reporting does a huge disservice to thousands whose livelihoods depend on tourism. Please get it right.

My gf living in Casablanca and told me that today there will be a big protest against the Government,and she really afraid

I'm worrying about her,so much :-(
J.D

PEACE SEX LOVE ROCK AND ROLL FREEDOM EXCEPTION DIVERSITY, all that could be a "painting" of what is the current KINGDOM of MOROCCO.

As a moroccan, was saddened to discover that the world doens't really know us as Moroccans. First of all, Morocco is Maroc in french. it comes from Al Maghrib in Arabic with means the "West".

Like in any society, there are left or right people , black and white, u know all that stuff.

Plus, as a moroccan, i really feel my country will confirm itself as an exception in the arab world.


With a glorious history, our Kingdom will continue to inspire itself from modern stuff coming mostly from the United States.

For us as moroccan, the goal WAS to walk the walk listening to bizarre Press release comparing our country to others.

No Sirs! We love our King cause he is a REAL MANAGER OF CHANGE.

We'll see....
Greetings from Morocco
Mounsef

we want our king to rule us no anybody else with ulterior motives!!! We love our King, Morocco is a monarchy!!


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