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Hirak committee calls for demonstrations across Morocco on Saturday

A demonstration is held outside the court house where Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi's trial is being held. 31 defendants are being represented in the trial which is being held in Casablanca. [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

To commemorate the death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri who was crushed to death in a rubbish truck after his produce was confiscated by authorities a year ago, the Hirak National Support Committee is calling for demonstrations this Saturday across Morocco.

The protesters will call for the “immediate release of Hirak detainees and support for their claim file” by engaging in sit-ins outside institutions to denounce “the unconsciousness” and “the failure” of the leaders who have managed the issues in the turbulent Al-Hoceima and Rif regions, north of the country.

In a statement, the committee said that its call to organise sit-ins is an effort to express its solidarity with the detainees of Hirak and their families, and not to forget “the martyrs of Hirak”. In addition to Fikri, the group will also commemorate the deaths of Imad Attabi, Abdelhafid El Haddad and five other activists who died in 2011.

Protests in the north of Morocco have become common over the last decade with residents fighting for more funding and employment opportunities provided by the government which has been largely negligent of the area compared with the rest of the country.

For the Hirak national committee, Saturday’s protests will also be an opportunity to reiterate the calls by human rights activists to release the detainees of Hirak “without any conditions” and to protect the detainees from their hunger-strike as well as to open “public dialogue with the leaders of Hirak,” many of whom have been detained since protests began in October last year after the death of Fikri.

Read more: Rif activists sent for trial in Morocco

The trials of Hirak detainees have been held almost every Tuesday at the Casablanca Court of Appeal. On Tuesday this week the first hearing of the trial of Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi was suspended and postponed till next week.

Zefzafi reportedly chanted “long live the Rif” during his short court appearance and was joined in chorus by a group of 30 detainees and their families in the courtroom, according to Al Yaoum24.

#Rif

The hearing was adjourned following a request by the defence lawyers for a period of at least three weeks in order to “have new consultations with their clients and deepen the examination of the file”.

The prosecutor’s office, however, insisted on “the conduct of the trial within a reasonable time,” stressing “its willingness to provide the defence any document it deems important”.

The list of charges against Hirak detainees, include “undermining the internal security of the state”, “attempts at sabotage, murder and looting” and “receiving funds , donations and other material means to lead and finance a propaganda activity likely to attack the unity and sovereignty of the Kingdom.”

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