Moroccan security services "did not respect the law" when dealing with and dispersing protesters in the mining town of Jerada, a human right report said yesterday.
In its report the Moroccan Coalition for Human Rights Groups accused authorities of not being open to dialogue and forcing protesters to move their demonstrations to a forest near the city so as not to pressure the interior ministry to act.
In March large number of Moroccans took to the street to demand the government afford better jobs for residents of Jerada.
"The security forces encircled the jungle, where the activist protested and the police violently dispersed them," the report said, noting that the protesters included women, the elderly and children.
The protests broke out following the death of two brothers in one of the unlicensed coal mines in the city at the end of December and they were renewed in February when a third worker died in similar circumstances.
Coal mines had been the main source of income for the residents of Jerada until they were closed in the 1990s. Since then, no alternatives or jobs have been introduced to the area. Unlicensed mines have since been setup which are unregulated and therefore provide no health and safety code for their workers.