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Tension brews in Morocco's neglected Rif region

Tension brews in Morocco's neglected Rif region

Morocco

Calls for justice have evolved into a grassroots movement demanding jobs and hospitals in Morocco’s neglected Rif region.

Outrage erupted last year in the region over the gruesome death of a fishmonger.

“The claims of this movement of young people are legitimate and fair, the right to have a job, a dignity, the right to medical care, education, and these are legitimate claims,” said Secretary General of the Moroccan Union of Workers, Khalid Ajbari.

The claims of this movement of young people are legitimate and fair: the right to have a job, a dignity, the right to medical care, education, and this are legitimate claims.

“We insist on our total refusal and collective of public policy of the State which is neither-popular nor social,” said one of the demonstrators.

A 31, year-old man, Mouhcine Fikri was crushed by a rubbish truck in October last year in the northern city of Al-Hoceima as he tried to protest against the seizure and destruction of his swordfish.

“What is it that prevents the State of Makhzen (the central state) to respond to the requests of the citizens? Such as hospitals, universities, confront the lobby of real estate, the mafias, the lobbies of the port which exploit the wealth of the sea,” said Nasser Zefzafi, leader of the protest in the Rif region.

Weekend protests are common in the city of 60,000 inhabitants, with police immediately moving in to contain the demonstrators and prevent them from marching to the city centre.

With the exception of a high school student protest in late March, all demonstrations have been peaceful.

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