Demonstrators gesture calling for the release of imprisoned members of the al-Hirak al-Shaabi movement in front of Moroccan security forces during a march in defiance of a government ban in the city of al-Hoceima on July 20, 2017. (AFP/STRINGER)
July 25, 2017
Protests in the northern Moroccan port city of Al Hoceima have been ongoing since the end of October. And, despite attempts by the government to ban a July 20 protest, thousands of citizens challenged authorities to once again voice their demands for greater development and jobs in the coastal Rif region. In recent months, authorities have cracked down on government opponents and demonstrators. More than 150 protesters have been arrested.
The movement – or #hirak – was sparked by the death of a local fish seller, whose body was crushed inside a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve fish that was confiscated by police. The Rif population is mainly Amazigh - indigenous North Africans who have long felt ignored and marginalised by the Moroccan government.
Protesters say they are marching for dignity and socio-economic justice.
Solidarity rallies have spread beyond the Rif to other parts of the country. What kind of change needs to happen to resolve recent unrest in Morocco?