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20th of July march : Activists and politicians react on Facebook following yesterday’s unrest

Activists in Al Hoceima alongside a number of civilians that came from all over the country took the street yesterday marching for freedom, dignity and social justice. Despite an official ban protesters managed to gather clashing with security forces that fired teargas as a response. Reacting to the event, activists and politicians commented on Al Hoceima’s unrest via Facebook.

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Despite the official ban announced through a communiqué earlier this week, activists and civilians took the streets yesterday to call for the release of the Hirak detainees in a march. Clashing with the police, protesters tried to gather forming a marching group that attempted to head in failing endeavors to Mohammed VI square, where several marches and demonstrations were organized during the last eight months. According to Yabiladi’s on-the-scene reporter, police fired teargas to disperse the crowds while ringing the city center. Several were injured during the clashes including police and protesters.


Reacting to yesterday’s events, activists and politicians chose Facebook a means to comment on the riots, the situation and the way things were handled by the police. Starting with Abdelali Hamidine, a politican, who wrote in a facebook post denouncing the way authorities managed the march on the 20th of July. According to him «the people’s will to march on 20th of July was fulfilled after all», thanking Al Hoceima’s inhabitants for «their commitment, determination and will to call for their legitimate demands including the release of the Hirak detainees». Abdelali Hamidine, who is also a human rights activist and president of Al Karama forum stressed that the «Rif is in the need of a political answer and not a security one», reffering to the clashes that emerged on Thursday. «The solution is in the Okasha prison in Casablanca», Hamidin concluded.

On the other hand, Nabil Shikhi, a politician and a PJD member was also reactive when it comes to the 20th of July march. In a long Facebook post published by Imane Yakoubi who is also a PJD member, Shikhi stated, that «preventing civilians from moving, restricting internet access, setting barriers and searching people illegally indicate that the weight of this march has scared some parties». Shikhi also pointed out that dealing with the current situation should not involve «the ban of the march» adding that instead «objective and realistic solutions should be put forward». The Justice and Development party militant stressed that «real reasons behind the anger emanating from the Rif is namely due to humiliation and resentment».

For Abderrahim El Aalam, who is also a politician, Moroccans should «fear a day when citizens will have to refrain from organizing demonstrations in order to stop security forces from destroying public property, throw rocks at demonstrators and break cars». El Aalam using a sarcastic language denounced the arrest of Hamid El Mehdaoui, Editor in Chief of who was among the journalists that were in Al Hoceima for media coverage. «Chanting might be punishable by law as it is the case with El Mahdaoui, the journalist who was arrested for shouting», he warned. The politician, moreover, declared on his Facebook post that «the 400 demonstrators who injured 72 police men is a silly joke that will make Moroccans laugh for a while».


Following the clashes that broke off yesterday, ElMortada Iamrachen, a Hirak activist who was granted provisional release after being arrested for terrorism, published on his Facebook account a statement clarifying the fact that he is not the leader of the Hirak. «I am one of the activists among thousands of people like me», said Iamrachen asking Riffians to «calm down and refrain from taking the streets to avoid more disasters». «The King’s speech on the 30th of July is expected to close a chapter of corruption», the activist said.

In a different Facebook post, Iamrachen thanked all those who marched in Al Hoceima yesterday. «I would like to thank every organization, and groups who came to show solidarity with the people of the Rif. We are proud of you», Iamrachen wrote.

The Hirak female activist, Nawal Ben Aissa, reported what protesters went through in a Facebook post. «We have been brutalized» Ben Aissa wrote adding that «they (security forces) did not care about children, women or elders». The young woman stated that she was «beaten more than once but every time I was feeling stronger (…) I fainted and was transferred to the hospital». «The state’s brutality won’t stop us, we believe in dignity, freedom and social justice», the female activist concluded.

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