Morocco tense after new riots erupt

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RABAT - Morocco remained tense Tuesday after new pro-democracy demonstrations were held in several cities.

Demonstrators clashed with police in Imzouren in the north Monday, media reported.

Four people were reported to have been injured and several arrested.

The demonstrators were marching to demand the release of other protesters who had been detained Sunday.

Rallies were also staged in Fez, Tangier and the capital Rabat Monday. Several people were reportedly arrested in Fez.

The new protests followed demonstrations attended by tens of thousands of people around the country Sunday.

The government said five people were killed when a bank was set on fire in Al Hoceima in the north. A total of nearly 130 people were injured and 120 arrested, according to figures given by Interior Minister Taieb Cherkaoui.

King Mohammed VI vowed not to cede to “demagoguery,” but promised important reforms shortly, without giving details.

Sunday’s demonstrations were staged with the support of a Facebook protest movement, Islamic fundamentalists, human rights and women’s groups, as well as some leftist parties and trade unionists.

The protesters called for the resignation of the government and the dissolution of parliament, a more democratic constitution, an end to corruption and press censorship, and better economic and social conditions.

Morocco until now had been scarcely affected by the wave of political protests that has 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 key cabinet ministers.

Filed under: Politics

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