Five killed in Morocco unrest

Monday, February 21, 2011

RABAT - Five people were killed in anti-government protests seeking political reform in Morocco, Xinhua reported Monday.

The burnt bodies of five people were found at a bank branch which was set ablaze during demonstrations Sunday in the north Moroccan town of Al-Hoceima, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui said.

Inspired by successful uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, thousands staged rallies in Moroccan cities Sunday demanding political reform and limits to the powers of King Mohammed VI.

The minister also said 128 people, including 115 members of the security forces, were injured in the unrest, according to state-run MAP news agency.

Meanwhile, thousands of young Moroccans have joined the “Feb 20″ movement on the social networking site Facebook, demanding a new constitution limiting the king’s powers and more social justice.

Morocco till now has been scarcely affected by the wave of political protests which have swept the Arab region in recent weeks.

The country has a variety of political parties and a freely-elected parliament, although governmental powers are restricted in key areas where the monarch has the final word. The king also appoints the key cabinet ministers.

The king is not as unpopular as some monarchs in the region, and the demonstrations were largely focussed on the government, parliament and perceived corruption.

Most political parties have come out against the demonstrations.

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