Unrest spreads to Morocco; police violently break up demonstrations
Monday, May 23, 2011
Pro-democracy protests by Moroccans in the capital of and city of on Sunday were violently broken up by police. Protesters called for a reduction in the power of the monarchy, a strengthening of the power of the Prime Minister and a reformation of the judiciary.
Police, armed with batons and shields, were seen violently beating protesters and chasing them away. The protesters in Casablanca chanted "[p]rotest is a legal right, why is theafraid?" in reference to the royal court, and "Makhzen get out. Down with despotism." Others chanted "[w]e want our rights, even if we are condemned to death," before fleeing to avoid armed police.
The police and the government were acting to try to stop a mass camp out protest similar to that seen earlier this year in Egypt's , which eventually lead to the falling of the government. One senior police officer stated "[w]e have been called here to preserve order because of this unauthorised protest."
Thecalled for a constitutional reformation on March 9, and the changes are expected to be announced in June. This is not the first protest that has been held recently. On May 15, protesters attempted to hold a rally outside intelligence headquarters in Rabat; this protest too was violently dispersed.
- "Moroccan police beat up protesters" — , May 22, 2011
- Paul Schemm. "Moroccan police disperse pro-democracy demonstrations around Rabat" — , May 22, 2011