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Human Rights Watch denounces Moroccan authorities’ use of force on Saturday

Responding to the brutal repression of the demonstration organized by women on Saturday to call for the release of the Hirak detainees, Human Rights Watch has brought its own version relying on activists’ accounts. The organization, in an article published today denounced the police’s use of force while dispersing protesters.

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Human Rights Watch has reacted to the police’s use of force on Saturday while dispersing a group of activists who gathered near the parliament building in Rabat to call for the release of Hirak activist «Silya» or Salima Ziani, a 23-year-old singer who is detained in Casablanca. In an article published today, the organization denounced the way Moroccan authorities dealt with protesters on the 8th of June.

«Notwithstanding a constitution that guarantees citizens the right to assemble, Moroccan police forces shoved, punched, and kicked a small band of peaceful protesters», declared Sarah Leah Whitson, a Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch who also pointed out that «in Morocco, your right to assemble too often depends on whether authorities appreciate your message.»

Protesters' accounts

Relying on protesters accounts the same source stated that Khadija Ryadi a member of the executive committee of the independent Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) and one of the sit-in organizers «the police are supposed to warn people at sit-ins three times to depart or be evacuated by force. But this time, they just started pushing people around, and using vulgar insults against them».

Abdelaziz Nouaydi, a lawyer who was participated to the demonstration told the human rights organization that he was hit by an officer when he told him that he should warn protesters three times before ordering to disperse the gathering. Nouaydi received a punch on the face breaking his eyeglasses and cutting his face.

As for Maati Monjib, an activist and historian, he declared to Human Rights Watch that he was kicked by police forces while sitting on the ground and raising his hands peacefully. The same thing happened to Ahmed Rachid a photographer for an online newspaper called when he was trying to take pictures of a lady being hit in the stomach by a police officer.

For the record, the demonstration organized in front of the Parliament in solidarity with the Hirak detainees has been met with a brutal response from the authorities. Several pictures and videos currently trending on social networks display women being hit and knocked down.

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