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Morocco’s treatment of protests ‘confounded’

Image of a protest in Morocco on 31 May 2017 [Diplomatic Observer/Flickr]
Image of a protest in Morocco on 31 May 2017 [Diplomatic Observer/Flickr]

The Moroccan government’s treatment of protesters in the north of the country is “confounded”, former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane said on Saturday.

Member of the National Youth Bureau of Benkirane’s Justice and Development party said: “In this description, Benkirane refers to the responses of the leaders of the government coalition who described the protesters as having separatist tendencies.”

Benkirane was speaking at a meeting of the youth movement in Rabat in Saturday.

“Benkirane said the protests in the countryside reflect the disappointment of the residents,” the party member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Read: Moroccan police stifle women’s protest in northern city

The source also revealed that Benkirane had called for the youth to bear their “historic responsibilities” and participate in proposing “serious proposals” to solve the problems of the area.

On Thursday, the government officially said that the protests were “legal” and “protected by law”.

The Moroccan PM Saadeddine Othmani said that his government was working to respond to the demands of the protesters “reasonably and swiftly”.

Since last October, Al-Hociema and the neighbouring areas in the northern countryside have been witnessing protests calling for development and ending “marginalisation”.

In some cases, the police violently dispersed the protesters and the General Prosecutor of Al- Hoceima said 40 people have been detained as a result of the demonstrations.

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