See also:
» 10.03.2011 - Morocco protesters encouraged by King's speech
» 03.03.2011 - Calls for new Morocco protests on Sunday
» 27.02.2011 - Morocco protests halted by police violence
» 27.02.2011 - Investors fear Morocco riots
» 26.02.2011 - Mostly peaceful protests in Morocco today
» 22.02.2011 - New Morocco protests planned
» 21.02.2011 - Morocco does not escape violence
» 18.02.2011 - Travel market tense ahead of Morocco protests

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Politics | Human rights

Large peaceful protests in Morocco

Protesters in Rabat, Morocco, call for democracy reforms

© "Vatyma"/afrol News
afrol News, 20 February
- Thousands of pro-democracy protesters are in the streets in Moroccan cities, and are so far proceeding peacefully. Unlike in other Arab countries, the protests in Morocco have been allowed.

Protests in Morocco, announced for today, are getting a large turnout all over the country, with the greatest protest marches in Rabat and Casablanca - the kingdom's capital and its largest city. But also minor cities are seeing protest marches, including Marrakech, Tangier, Fez and Al-Hoceima

Protesters are calling for pro-democracy reforms in the kingdom. There are no calls for a republic, but many calling for less power to King Mohammed VI and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy according to the Spanish or British model.

Anger is more directed against the government - appointed by the King - and the ruling class at large, including pervasive corruption in the country. Protesters demand more democracy, less corruption and deep-ploughing social reforms.

The atmosphere is described as peaceful and orderly in all places. Neither the police not the army have interfered with the protest marches, which had been allowed by authorities. Protesters are reported to act "civilised".

Some of the original organisers of the protests however feel that protesters in the capital are behaving "too civilised". No slogans are chanted and no anti-monarchy sentiments are aired. Critics say that "fear is not overcome yet in

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Rabat, Morocco's capital

© "Vatyma"/afrol News

But the protests during the afternoon soon could develop their own dynamics. In Rabat, protesters are already reported to move from Hassan II Boulevard towards parliament to present their demands. As the extent of the marches is becoming known - they are widely aired in national media - more and more people are daring to join the manifestation.

Also in Marrakech, often described as the capital of the Berber minority, protest marches during the day are rapidly growing. Around noon, some 5,000 people were reported to be in the streets of this inland city, where authorities normally do not allow protests due to Berber resentments.

But so far, the atmosphere is calm and protesters seem to take pride in the contrast between Morocco and Libya, where more than 100 protesters were killed during the last few days. "My country is making me proud," is one of several tweet messages with a similar message coming from the protests in central Rabat.

King Mohammed VI so far however has not indicated that he or his government will give into the protesters' demands. Currently, they hope that a soft response to the protesters will both boost the kingdom's international image and take the sting out of the protest movement.

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