afrol News, 1 February - A growing number of Moroccan civil society groups are calling for large scale protest marches in the Kingdom. As the first protests are already being organised in Tangier and Rabat, the army is regrouping.
Following the developments in Tunisia and Egypt, Moroccan youth groups have started organising the first protest marches in the country to demand political reform and greater human rights in Morocco.
The first mass protests have already been organised in Morocco. On Sunday, the group ATTAC Morocco staged a larger demonstration in the northern city of Tangiers, with protesters focusing on "the deterioration of social conditions and high basic food prices."
The Tangier protest however was brutally stopped by security forces, according to eyewitnesses. Batons and tear gas were used to disperse demonstrators who had gathered in the Square of Nations in central Tangier. Protesters had chanted slogans of solidarity with the people of Tunisia and Egypt, demanding a "right to employment, housing and a decent life."
But Moroccan protesters have not given up, despite the brutal response by security forces. Today, there are reports from the capital, Rabat, about demonstrations in front of the Egyptian Embassy, with hundreds of protesters chanting slogans in solidarity of their counterparts in Egypt.
Further protests are now being prepared by a magnitude of groups in Morocco.
A group of young Moroccans is currently spreading the protest call through the social network Facebook, calling for demonstrations on 27 February "in front of the prefectures and the wilayas in all regions and central authorities in cities and villages, to demand the freedom of political organisation, the alternation of power and human rights."
The so-called "Movement for Freedom and Democracy Now" in a statement specifies that this protest is "part of a spontaneous global transformation that aims at giving people their rightful place in society," further calling for democracy, freedom and the adherence to popular will.
According to the statement, there is a list of demands including "the abolition of the current constitution, dissolve parliament and government, parties who have contributed to the consolidation of political corruption and take immediate real action for a political transition."
The organisers further refer to "the terrible conditions of poverty, unemployment and human rights violations and restrictions on freedom of press" in Morocco. Morocco is known to be the poorest and least developed state in North Africa, facing enormous social problems.
Also other organisations are calling for protests. A grouping of the political opposition, trade unions, human rights organisations and an association of the unemployed has issued a statement calling for rallies and demonstrations to be held next Saturday, 5 February.
Also, the Labor Council of the Democratic Labour Confederation of Morocco has called for Sunday 6 February to be a day of protest. Marches are planned for in the south-eastern town of Ouarzazate "to protest the inhumane living conditions in Morocco."
As the calls for protests are widening in Morocco, the regime is increasingly insecure. King Mohammed VI has met with French government officials and his most trusted military leaders in his private chateau outside Paris to discuss the security situation.
Several unconfirmed reports from Morocco and occupied Western Sahara agree that security forces now are being pulled out from the occupied territory to be deployed in Morocco-proper in preparation of a possible popular revolt.
The reported regrouping of Moroccan troops may leave Western Sahara - a territory whose indigenous Saharawi population is always ready to revolt - open to rebellion. Security forces stationed in Western Sahara are famed for great brutality against civilians, which could bode unwell for protesters trying to organise marches in Morocco.
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