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HRW calls on Morocco to avoid excessive force against protesters

Human Rights Watch has called on the Moroccan authorities not to use violence against teacher-trainee protesters and to investigate an incident during which Moroccan police attacked and beat peaceful teacher-trainee protesters earlier this month, causing dozens of injuries.

The watchdog released a statement on Monday remarking on the Moroccan police’s use of excessive force to disperse peaceful teacher-trainee protests in six cities in the North African country.

“Clubbing and tossing stones at peaceful demonstrators would fall well outside the realm of lawful means of dispersing a peaceful demonstration,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

“The Moroccan authorities should make sure the police and security forces don’t use unnecessary violence against demonstrators and to hold accountable anyone who does,” he added.

HRW said teacher-trainees took to the streets in six cities – Casablanca, Marrakech, Inezgane, Tangiers, Fez, and Oujda – after a call by the National Coordination of Teacher-Trainees at Regional Centres for Education and Training in Morocco, for a nationwide protest against two new decrees reducing their stipends and job security.

The watchdog quoted witnesses as saying that in Inezgane, police attacked peaceful demonstrators with rubber batons and wooden sticks, and in some cases threw stones at them.

The Moroccan authorities were not immediately available to comment on Human Rights Watch’s statement.

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