Wide Angle

Hirak families, politicians and Islamists react to the desecration of the Moroccan flag

Several are the voices that denounced the desecration of the Moroccan flag, during a pro-Hirak march. The latter was attended by pro-Hirak participants who trampled and burned the Morocco flag.

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During a march held, Saturday, in Paris to support Hirak detainees and commemorate the death of Moroccan fishmonger Mohcine Fikri, some attendees desecrated the Moroccan flag.

While demanding the independence of the Rif region and brandishing the flag of the Rif Republic established by Mohamed Ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi in 1921, some of the Paris march participants trampled and burned the Moroccan flag.

In Morocco, this scene did not go unnoticed, especially among Hirak detainees and their families. Speaking to Arabic-language newspaper Alyaoum24, Ahmed Zefzafi, the father of the Hirak movement’s leader, questioned the reasons behind this act. «We need to know who they are and where they come from (…) who sent them», he argued.  

Ahmed Zefzafi, whose son is serving a 20-year prison sentence, stressed that «Riffians are not separatists», recalling that the region has «brought Moroccans together instead», during former pro-Hirak marches.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Ahamjik, the brother of Hirak detainee Nabil Ahamjik, took to Facebook to denounce the flag desecration. «Those who burned the Moroccan flag in Paris do not represent the Hirak movement». «They have nothing to do with the Hirak nor its claims and innocent detainees», he added.

Denounced by both sides

The act was also rejected by the Moroccan diaspora. In a communiqué, released Sunday, the Council of the Moroccan Community living abroad (CCME) described the desecration of the Moroccan flag as a «childish and cowardly act». «It is a serious attack at one of the symbols of the national sovereignty and the dignity of Moroccans», both inside and outside the Kingdom.

The Moroccan-German Federal Council also denounced, in a statement, the «actions of this separatist group, which is affiliated to the Hirak movement and hostile to the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco».

The profanation of the national flag has also made the political scene in Morocco react. Amina Maelainine, a member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), said on her Facebook page that «those who commit such minor acts seek to hinder all efforts to find a way to resolve issues related to Hirak detainees».

Salah El-Ouadie, president of the political movement Damir and a member of the Civil Initiative for the Rif, said that these people «burned their own skin with this flag».  

A hard blow for those who want to settle the matter

For his part, Hassan Bennajeh, a member of the political circle of the movement Al Adl Wal Ihsane criticized the «acts of poisoning» and the attempts of some individuals to divert the debate. He furthermore, described the profanation of the national flag as «a suspicious, isolated and reprehensible incident».

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed Fizazi, known for his positions against the Hirak, said that this «handful of people (...) do not represent the Rif nor Riffians».

Political scientist and university professor Omar Cherkaoui said that this act is «neither heroism nor victory». «It is the pinnacle of futility and carelessness», he denounced. «Do not let hatred blind you and transform the cause of these young people into firewood for your dreams and utopia», he said.

For his part, Moroccan journalist Mohammed Ahaddad from Al Hoceima, said that «those who burned the Moroccan flag in Paris also burned all the noble initiatives to turn this painful page». «These are cowardly actions that are not related to the Rif», he concluded.

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