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Thread: Morocco takes to the streets

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  1. #1
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    Default Morocco: The Rif rises again

    The regime comes down hard on the rebellious Rif. The Moroccan spring rises again.
    Last Friday, May 26th, the believers in the mosques in Al Hoceima were surprised and outraged when they heard the sermons of the religious leaders.
    Those bribed civil servants of the state and not of God, made a very political use of the Friday prayer to launch an attack against the Hirak movement and its charismatic leader Alzfzafi, accusing him of organising ‘discord’ (Fitna) in the country. Many people left the religious places immediately in anger and to protest.
    Alzfzafi himself held a speech afterwards to defend the ‘movement‘ (Hirak), which has been protesting unrelentingly for 6 months against marginalisation, the police and military repression, and the attacks against their justified popular demands. Remember how last year the brutal death of a fishmonger sparked a mass movement in the whole mountainous Rif region and the main cities of the Kingdom. The main demands are for jobs, hospitals, infrastructure, a university, ending the militarisation of the region (in place since 1959), ending the endemic corruption, and granting political freedom.

    The shocking murder - by crushing in a garbage truck - of the poor fish vendor, which is referenced, reminded a lot of the event in Tunisia at the end of 2010 - the self-immolation of vegetable vendor Mohammed Bouazizi after having having his only means of living confiscated - that sparked the Arab Spring whose effects still echo throughout the wider region. While those revolutions and struggles have so far failed to bring justice to the masses due to intervention from reactionary forces of different kinds, they will constitute valuable lessons in the collective consciousness of the masses, that will guide them in new battles - eventually to the path to socialist revolution.

    Some called 2011 the '1905' (the year of the first, failed Russian revolution) of Egypt and the Arab world. Dialectical materialism teaches us both that masses learn from experience, and that the smallest spark, such as an outrageous attack on a single poor worker, can when discontent has been brewing long enough start a chain of events that leads to the overthrow the most seemingly powerful oppressors.

    One day sooner than we think, the working class of the mighty arab nation will unite from the Atlantic to the Tigris and overthrow all the reactionary, rotten regimes oppressing them, be they feudalist or colonial remnants, pseudo-progressive tyrants, or religious zealots and create one of the most important building blocks of the future socialist world.

    I'll end with another post from In Defence of Marxism, a solidarity appeal from the International Marxist Tendency:

    Since last October, Al Hoceima and its neighboring regions have seen a big protest movement. The direct reason behind this has been the crushing of a young fish vendor (Mohsen Fikri) in a garbage container by local officials after protesting the confiscation of his goods. Behind the movement however there are other deeper reasons, such as dictatorship, exploitation, marginalization and unemployment: i.e Capitalism and its state.
    This heroic mass movement, which has stood up against all forms of repression and harassment, has inspired the workers and revolutionaries in the rest of the Morocco, where a wave of solidarity struggles has started. This is a nightmare for the ruling class and its state.
    After months of mixing repression with empty promises, the state has now moved to reveal its true nature and has increased the pace of repression. Recently, a large wave of arrests has been launched, including most of the leaders of the movement. The state has also resorted to thugs and criminals to attack peaceful demonstrations in many cities.
    The detainees in the prisons of the dictatorship are subjected to torture and humiliation. The Moroccan youth and the masses throughout Morocco are attacked with brutal repression. It is our responsibility to struggle to stop this barbarity. We demand the immediate release of political prisoners, a halt on all repression and of the government to meet the demands of the protesters – that is, to punish those responsible for the killing of Mohsen Fikri, stop marginalization and instead build hospitals, schools, employment and other just and legitimate demands.
    The International Marxist Tendency calls on all workers youth, revolutionaries and trade unionists to support the struggle of the Moroccan masses. We ask you to take up the struggle in your organisations and pass solidarity messages, to spread awareness about the repression and to expose the reactionary nature of the regime in Morocco.
    An injury to one is an injury for all!
    Workers of the world unite!

    Last edited by Sentinel; 5th June 2017 at 08:19.
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  3. #2
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    Default Protests spread across Morocco after general strike called in Rif region

    Protests spread across Morocco after general strike called in Rif region

    By Anthony Torres

    15 June 2017

    Tens of thousands of people marched yesterday in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, in solidarity with strikes and clashes in the Rif region that have led to protests in cities across the country. The protesters are demanding the freeing of members of Hirak Rif, the movement protesting the killing last year of fisherman Mouhcine Fikri by the security forces. Its leaders have been targeted for mass round-ups by the police.

    The protestors in Rabat were so numerous that, though tightly packed, they spread for over a kilometer. Protesters, among which were trade union bureaucrats as well as various opposition political parties, denounced not only the repression but also the deep social inequality of Morocco's monarchic regime. They shouted slogans including “Free the prisoners” and “Liberty, dignity and social justice.”

    The latest protest is the outcome of several months of demonstrations concentrated in the cities and towns around Al Hoceïma, in Morocco’s mountainous north, a region known as the Rif. Protests have spread at various times across the country in opposition to the brutality of the monarchy and also to advance social demands, including for more hospitals and jobs.

    Fikri died last November during a confrontation with police and state officials who wanted to confiscate a load of swordfish he had caught. He tried to negotiate for several hours to prevent the destruction of the fish, but ultimately the police ordered the confiscation and destruction of the fish in the compactor of a garbage truck. Fikri and his friends went into the garbage truck to try to get back his merchandise, but police coldly gave the order to turn on the compactor, and Fikri was killed, crushed in the truck.

    Tens of thousands of people marched in protest in Al Hoceïma and in the principal cities of Morocco, including Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, and Agadir on the occasion of his funeral. His death has repeatedly been compared to the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, the young street merchant who immolated himself to protest the confiscation of his fruits and vegetables by police in Tunisia in 2010. This was the catalyst for the mass revolutionary uprisings of workers that toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in 2011.

    The Rif is one of Morocco's poorest regions, and historically a center of opposition to French and Spanish colonization of the country. It has been heavily monitored by the army since the 1958 insurrection against the closure of the border with neighboring Algeria during that country's war for independence against France. The Rif uprising was crushed by 30,000 men led by crown prince Moulay Hassan, the future King Mohammed V, leading to the lasting isolation of the Rif. Al-Hoceïma was also a center of the 1984 bread riots.

    Pierre Vermeren, a researcher who studies Morocco at the University of Paris, warned in Libération: “Any incident (death of a protester, police violence) can escalate the situation. The monarchy has always watched the Rif region extremely closely. The province is hyper-militarized. For the time being, the protests are mainly located in Al Hoceïma, which is essentially a small provincial city, but if it were to spread to the larger cities in the North, like Nador, which is three times larger and poorly controlled by police, the authorities would start panicking.”

    The arrest last month on charges of “threatening internal security” of the main leader of the Hirak Rif, Nasser Zefzafi, as well as forty other members, provoked broad anger in the population. Najib Ahmajik, the organization's second-in-command, launched an appeal for a general strike on social media. Nearly 2,000 people responded rapidly, marching with a banner inscribed with a picture of Zefzafi to demand the liberation of the prisoners.

    Virtually all of the shops in the Al Hoceïma's downtown observed a general strike call to demand the liberation of the Hirak Rif leaders. For at least a week, protesters have been regularly gathering in the Sidi Abed neighborhood, close to the center of the city.

    Sit-ins and solidarity protests have been organized across the country, several of which were violently dispersed by police, including in Rabat, Casablanca, and Meknès. In Nador, according to press reports, the authorities arrested a journalist working for Algeria's El Watan newspaper. After night-time clashes with police on the week-end the protesters were arrested, protests have continued without violence.

    Demonstrations have also spread to Europe, including France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where people of Moroccan origins have gathered to protest in front of Moroccan consulates to show their solidarity.

    The explosive class conflicts in North Africa and its revolutionary implications are once again coming to the fore. The revolutionary struggles of the working class in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011 are well remembered by millions of people, and the Moroccan monarchy is desperately trying to control the situation and limit the eruption of popular anger.

    The coming to power of representatives of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia under the presidency of Caïd Essebsi and the bloody coup of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt have resolved none of the problems which drove the working class to revolutionary struggles six years ago.

    The enormous fragility of the Moroccan monarchy and of the Tunisian regime under Essebsi—which could emerge only due to the lack of revolutionary leadership, and the counter-revolutionary role of the trade union bureaucracy, a pillar of the old Ben Ali regime, and of the parties of the Popular Front in Tunisia—is again exposed by the mobilization of the masses.

    The protests in Morocco are developing in parallel with a protest movement in Tunisia that began in March in the region of Tataouine, in the south of the country, from which the revolutionary struggles started six years ago.

    The situation there has been extremely tense since May: violent clashes have taken place, pitting the national guard and the army against the Tunisian masses, who are demanding an oil subsidy in order to make it to the end of the month. Solidarity protests have taken place in other cities in the country, including Tunis.

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  4. #3
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    Default Morocco's unrest is worsening

    The protest movement that has shaken northern Morocco for the past eight months is as creative as it is persistent. After being blocked from the main square in Al Hoceima, the epicentre of the unrest, and then beaten by police as they marched down side streets.

  5. #4
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    Default Morocco takes to the streets

    Since late last year, protests against the corrupt regime of Morocco's King Mohammed VI have escalated. They were touched off when a Moroccan street vendor was crushed to death in a garbage truck during a confrontation with police.

  6. #5
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    I'm glad that Moroccans are standing up to their corrupt government.
    “None of our republics would be anything if we weren't all together; but we have to create our own history - history of United Yugoslavia, also in the future.”
    ― Josip Broz Tito
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  8. #6
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    Default Is Morocco Headed Toward Insurrection?

    Curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints on highways leading to Al Hoceima in northeastern Morocco; neighborhoods encircled by military trucks; police attacking protesters; mass arrests; activists abducted off the streets.


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