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Thousands march in Rabat to demand release of protest leaders

Protesters, supporting Rif Movement leader Nasser Zefzafi, stage a demonstration demanding the government to take action for developing the region in Hoceima, Morocco on June 11, 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]
Protesters, supporting Rif Movement leader Nasser Zefzafi, stage a demonstration demanding the government to take action for developing the region in Hoceima, Morocco on June 11, 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Rabat yesterday to call for the release of detained members of the Rif protest movement, Hirak Al-Shaabi, reported local media. The protesters included members of many of Morocco’s civil and political organisations.

The protest march began at around noon in Bab El-Had in the centre of the city and was largely peaceful. A small group of counter-demonstrators chanted their support for King Mohammed VI.

According to Maghreb Arab Press, around 12,000 to 15,000 people attended the protest in the Moroccan capital. It was the largest since the Arab Spring protests in 2011.

Supporters of the Islamic Justice and Spirituality Movement — Al-Adl Wa Al-Ihssane — also responded to the call from its leader, Mohamed Abbadi, to attend the protest.

The protesters demanded the release of the arrested activists who have lead the Rif movement’s calls for better opportunities and funding in the largely neglected north of Morocco.

Read: Morocco’s treatment of protests ‘confounded’

Slogans supporting the protesters of Al Hoceima and their demands were chanted as well as calls for social justice. The parents of Nasser Zefzafi, the protest movement leader who was arrested last month, were also among the protesters, said LeDesk.

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