The Netherlands : Dutch-Moroccans protest to support the Rif region

Some 2,000 people gather on Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam to protest against human rights violations in Morocco's Rif region, 4 Jun 2017./Ph. @mariammaslouhi / Twitter
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On Sunday 4th of July, Dutch-Moroccans gathered in Schouwburgplein, a plaza situated in the heart of the city of Rotterdam, to support the protests taking place in Al Hoceima city and to denounce the «rights violations and injustices in the Moroccan Rif region and for the release of political prisoners», the Netherlands Times reports.

Bouchra Banhammou from the organizing committee of Mohcine Fikri Nederland, told that around 2 thousand people from the Netherlands and abroad participated to the demonstration. During the protest, according to the same source, «PvdA European Parliamentarian Kati Piri and former parliamentarian Ahmed Marcouch spoke at the event».

«We want attention for what is happening in the Rif. The world must not look away and politicians must do something about this. Human rights are being violated in Morocco. We hear that from people there», Benhammou told the same source.

Heba Morayef, a North Africa specialist from Amnesty Nederland stated to the Dutch online newspaper that : «We fear that this wave of arrests is a deliberate attempt to punish these protesters who peacefully express criticism», adding that «It is essential that the Moroccan authorities respect the right to freedom of expression and gathering. In addition, the authorities must ensure that peaceful protestors are not convicted on fabricated charges.»

Since October, the Rif region was shaken by a number of manifestations that denounce the death of a fishmonger called Mohcine Fikri. The latter was crushed to death when he was trying to retrieve his confiscated fish from a dumpster truck. Later, Nasser Zefzafi took the lead of the protests, calling for reforms, better medical facilities and education. He was arrested on Monday 29th of May a few days after interrupting a Friday prayer sermon.

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