A historic demonstration was held by popular and democratic forces in Morocco on Sunday to denounce the repression against Rif popular protests and call for social and economic rights.
More than 100,000 people from different regions took to the streets of the capital Rabat in a national gathering under the slogan "One nation, one people against deprivation and humiliation, united for freedom, dignity and social justice". Many participated despite fasting for Ramadan and the high temperature. Regional protests also took place in more than 20 cities all over Morocco against police repression and calling for justice.
Since late last year, many protests have taken place in the Rif region in the north of the country, after the vicious killing of Mouhsine Fikri, a fish salesman who was crushed to death inside a garbage truck while trying to save his fish confiscated by the police on 28 October.
Instead of fulfilling its responsibilities and providing answers to the legitimate social, economic and cultural demands — which include the lifting of the militarisation of the Rif region and holding a direct dialogue with the protesters — the regime in Morocco has criminalised the struggle. Many arrests of protesters and organisers have been made. The authorities have crushed all peaceful protests in the Rif as well as all other regions organised to express solidarity with the popular movement.
The historic protest in Rabat finished with a statement issued by the popular forces taking part, including democratic bodies, trade unions, human rights organisations, youth groups and women's movements. The statement emphasised the unity of the Moroccan people against the despotism and authoritarianism of the regime, and called upon the authorities to listen to the people's demands. The text was as follows:
This popular demonstration is a clear message to the authorities and the regime that the people of Morocco and their popular forces won't let down the Rif region. We will stay mobilised until the achievement of their legitimate and just demands. We will not allow any violation of the democratic acquisitions for which the people have sacrificed and struggled for decades. Hence,
- We join this movement for our just demands, in all parts of Morocco, and we denounce the crackdown against all peaceful protest movements.
- We call for freedom for all political prisoners, including those arrested during the Rif protests.
- We call upon all democratic political forces, trade unions, human rights organisations and Moroccan citizens to take their responsibility at this historic moment to defend the democratic acquisitions of the people; to mobilise for civil and popular peaceful protests over the legitimate demands of our people; and to confront state violence with more mobilisation.
- We consider the success of this historic demonstration to be a prelude for the coming struggles of the people of Morocco and the establishment of a "Front for the defence of freedom, dignity and social justice".
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