CASABLANCA, Morocco: Five members of the “February 20” protest movement saw their sentences reduced yesterday to six months on appeal, after they were jailed for taking part in a non-authorized demonstration.
The five young men had variously been given prisons terms of between eight and 10 months in September on charges that also included attacking public officials in the course of duty.
While cutting their sentences, the appeals court in Casablanca also ordered them to pay 7,500 dirhams (around 700 euros) each in civil damages and fines. (more…)
A Moroccan court has jailed an activist with the February 20 protest movement for 12 years for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration, a human rights group said on Tuesday, slamming the ruling as an act of vengeance.
The charges against Bashir Benshaib, 32, who was sentenced by an appeals court in Al-Hoceima on Monday, included blocking a road, theft, aggression and drug dealing, Faisal Ousser of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) told AFP.
Benshaib had initially been tried in March this year, the month he was arrested, and handed a five year jail term, with another five year suspended sentence, for organising the unauthorised protest near Al-Hoceima in northern Morocco. (more…)
While Morocco faces many of the same demographic, economic, and political challenges as its neighbors, it has managed to avoid the violent upheavals witnessed in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. The relative calm in Morocco is not due to a lack of citizen engagement or mobilization; a passionate and determined opposition, the February 20thmovement, has staged weekly protests in the past year, including a boycott of the November 2011 parliamentary elections. Just last month, several unemployed university graduates set themselves on fire near a ministry of education building in Rabat, the capital, to protest their lack of jobs and opportunity. One of them later died from his burns. During a recent visit to Morocco, however, I heard again and again from people that “Morocco is different” from its neighbors. Moroccans point to their long history as a nation, the steadying role of King Mohammed VI, their own brand of moderate Islam, and their business and social ties to Europe. But no matter how influential any of these factors might be (and that’s debatable), none provides immunity from the rising tide of dissatisfaction caused by unemployment, corruption, and the widening gap between the rich and poor. (more…)
Middle East Channel
Posted By Adria Lawrence
On February 20, 2011, Moroccan youth activists, inspired by protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, staged major demonstrations for democratic reform and “freedom and dignity for all Moroccans.” Avoiding the indecision and dramatic scenes of repression seen in other Arab capitals, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI responded rapidly with atelevised address that acknowledged the protesters’ grievances and promised major constitutional reforms, including a stronger parliament, free and fair elections, and the protection of human rights. Following a national referendum on the king’s constitutional amendments and watershed elections that brought new leadership to power, what has the February 20th movement accomplished? Who has benefited from the protest movement? One year on, who are the winners and losers? (more…)
Anniversaire du 20 février: Tiède au démarrage
Faible mobilisation à Marrakech
La foule n’était pas grande à Marrakech pour ce premier anniversaire du mouvement. A peine 400 participants ont répondu à l’appel du mouvement et sont descendus dans la rue dimanche dernier. Parmi eux beaucoup de curieux d’ailleurs. C’est à 10h30 que la section marrakchie du mouvement a commencé sa marche pacifiste, encadrée par des militants habitués aux manifestations du M20. Comme pour chaque manifestation, plusieurs membres du PSU accompagnaient et soutenaient les jeunes. Les slogans scandés appelaient aux réformes, à la lutte contre la corruption… Le gouvernement Benkirane n’a pas été épargné. L’itinéraire a démarré place Bab Doukkala pour aboutir à Jamaa El Fna. Les forces de sécurité se faisaient plutôt discrètes. En dehors des agents de circulation et ceux portant des dossards de couleur orange, les services de sécurité étaient en civil, suivant de loin les manifestants.
B. B. (more…)
Hundreds of demonstrators Sunday marked the first anniversary of a reform movement, born of last year’s Arab Spring, amid calls for more democracy in the Moroccan kingdom.
In Casablanca, the country’s second largest city, some 2,000 people gathered amid cries of “end corruption” and “freedom”, while in the capital, Rabat, about 1,000 turned out to celebrate the so-called “February 20 movement”, journalists said.
A security official spoke of about 1,000 demonstrators for the whole of the country, including 150 in Casablanca.
A counter-demonstration also took place in Rabat, near the parliament, with dozens of people carrying portraits of King Mohammed VI. (more…)
By PAUL SCHEMM
CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — A few thousand people gathered Sunday in Morocco’s cities to mark the one year anniversary of the North African kingdom’s local version of the Arab Spring uprisings.
The modest turnout was in sharp contrast to the tens of thousands that once flocked to the February 20th movement’s banner early last year.
About 1,000 people turned out for a sit-in at Casablanca’s main square. In the capital Rabat, at least 1,500 marched through the center of town chanting slogans and singing songs. (more…)
By Associated Press
RABAT, Morocco — Morocco’s pro-democracy February 20 movement spearheaded the country’s version of the Arab Spring and sent the centuries-old monarchy scrambling to reform. Now, a year after its birth, the youth-led group appears to have lost its way.
And while the movement struggles for relevance, Morocco’s problems are far from solved: Social discontent and clashes between police and unemployed graduates are on the rise as the economy suffers from the effects of Europe’s financial crisis.
Like the Occupy movements in the United States, Morocco’s pro-democracy groups now need to find out if they can keep the fight going.
On Sunday, the movement will try with countrywide anniversary demonstrations to rekindle some of the fire that at its peak in March put 800,000 people from all walks of life on the streets calling for an end to corruption, greater democracy and social justice. (more…)