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Morocco arrests 150 during Rif protests

June 29, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Moroccan security forces arrest protesters during a demonstration in support of the Rif Movement in Rabat, Morocco on 20 June 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Some 150 people have been arrested in Morocco’s Rif after protests turned violent this week, scores of policemen were injured and a number of children were hospitalised after they were exposed to teargas.

Those arrested joined detained protest leader Nasser Zefzafi, who heads the Popular Movement which has been behind the continuous demonstrations in Al-Hoceima where protesters have demanded jobs, and more development in the underdeveloped region.

Khadija Ryadi of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) confirmed that around 150 people were arrested during the violence.

Forty were still detained this morning, many of them from neighbouring communities who were arrested when they came to demonstrate.

Protests have become a daily occurrence as part of a grassroots movement that has snowballed following the death of a fishmonger who was crushed in a rubbish truck last year after authorities confiscated his produce.

Read: Morocco slammed after police assault activists

Clashes broke out in Al-Hoceima this week with police blocking access to the city and dispersing crowds from protesting. Videos circulated on social media showing authorities using truncheons to break up the protests which were being held to demand the release of activists. Dozens were injured.

Around 50 members of the security forces were injured on Monday after being hit by stone throwers and 29 more were injured on Tuesday during new clashes in the neighbouring town of Imzouren, according to authorities.