2011-02-20 The Morocco King's Speech, Human Rights Leader Brutalized #Feb20

WL Central will be updating news on Morocco, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on Twitter @kgosztola or by email at kgosztola@hotmail.com.

Current time in Rabat, Morocco:

MONDAY, February 20

Image10:45 PM Photo screen shot of 2M TV report

The King's Speech: He announces the installation of an Economic and Social Council to "give strong impetus" to "dynamic reforms." He says "we have consistently refused to succumb to the demagoguery." And he outlines:

Our ultimate goal is to ensure conditions for a dignified life for all Moroccans, especially the most needy, and implement a comprehensive development to create productive jobs, especially to the youth that we place in the heart of our development policy.

Police arrest activists. Video posted less than hour ago.

Moroccan news segment on the February 20 movement

Afrol News points out that Morocco's peaceful protests didn't end peacefully. The violence is described:

in less advantaged areas, the tension soon built up. Especially in the regions dominated by the Berber minority - estimated at between 20 and 60 percent of the total population - the masses in the streets were different, displaying more anger and more hopelessness. This includes locations in the Atlas Mountains and the Rif northern coast; historically disadvantaged areas.

In Marrakech - the unofficial Berber capital and a major tourist destination - more and more disillusioned youths took to the streets during the afternoon and evening in a seldom occasion to display their discontent. As the Marrakech protests increased in strength and determination, police decided to violently disperse the crowds of an estimated 2,000 persons.

A group of these fleeing protesters later attacked a McDonald's restaurant in Marrakech, allegedly to scare a larger group of tourists gathered at the site. Also, protesters tried to storm police headquarters in the city. Nobody was however injured.

Mamkafinch with video of security forces just letting provocateurs walk right in and cause a disturbance

Five were found dead after Sunday protests in Morocco

Report on Lakome.com on security assaulting the President of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights

Mamfakinch has this posting, which is the appeal from the Youth 20 February for revolutionary change in Morocco:

We emphasize that the protests in force in Morocco, under the pretext of Youth February 20 legitimate protests carry the demands and concerns of citizens in political, economic, social and cultural rights, so I started the bulk of the demonstrations in the cities of Morocco audiences large and Gafrp since this morning slogans, the demand and condemning at the same time in Morocco, so We as young people, February 20 actor in the field accompanied by the masses and conscious of our demands away from Trhat inventory, and we further affirm that the Feb. 20 record date and consider it the only way to achieve the demands of popularity, although the exploitation of the store to thieves and his gang in acts of sabotage nothing to do with the movement of young people on February 20, as well as the interference of direct Bojhzath repressive in all of Marrakech, Al Hoceima, the latter of which resulted in injuries, arrests and intimidation of myself and my body to the citizens as in the Sefrou also other regions, and the provocation of police to citizens raised the ire of protesters, we as young people, February 20 we consider that acts of violence and vandalism that occurred in some cities (Marrakech , Essaouira, Al Hoceima Sefrou, Alareic,,,) acts stemming from the plan Mkhoznip to distract and distort the struggles of the masses of the people of Morocco, and those methods that deal with the store is not new, but they are known at all to disable our path of struggle and protest, therefore, affirm and declare to the public opinion of national and international as follows:

1 - high tribute to all the people of Morocco in its response to the appeal of young people venerate February 20 cities of Morocco.

2 - salute the free media Moroccan and international cope in these demonstrations.

3 - strongly condemn the repressive interventions in some cities, especially Al Hoceima, Morocco, Marrakech Sefrou known some of the wounded and arrests among the protesters.

4 - We strongly condemn the address stored in the use of mercenaries to foment sedition and sabotage following the example of what happened in Egypt and Tunisia.

5 - to store and hold his security full responsibility for provoking citizens and use many ways to thwart the demonstrations and make it a violent.

6 - We emphasize that our movement is the movement of peaceful and civilized is seeking to achieve their demands despite attempts to derail the store.

7 - free media appeal to national and international media coverage of all Moroccan cities.

8 - assure everyone that our struggle continues, irreversible and our demands are legitimate, fair and reasonable, and we invite all fans of Morocco and the political forces and trade unions in different directions to circumvent the demands of our people and continue to protest peacefully (and stops, rallies, sit-ins, workshops ..) according to the days of appropriate, because February 20 What is only the beginning of our fight against tyranny and corruption.

Done in Rabat 20/02/2011

Youth February 20

7:39 PM


5:45 PM


Laila Lalami has a post at The Nation on Morocco's "Day of Dignity" that is getting a lot of attention Lalami is of the opinion that might happen will be more of an evolution, not a revolution.

SUNDAY, February 20

Image 8:10 PM Mamfakinch, a portal for Moroccan independent news, has many, many photos and videos of today's protests. The photo on the left is from the site. And, the following is a video posted earlier today.

A police van tries to run over a protester

King Mohammed VI's cousin, Prince Moulay Hicham El Alaoul, calls for "democratization of the system" and supports thousands of Moroccans marching on Sunday to demand political reform According to Ennahar Online, El Alaoul says, "Personally, I support any initiative that calls for the democratization of our political system, taking into account the necessity that this be done in a peaceful and tolerant manner. In this case, it seems that this movement has all these conditions and so I joined it."

Israeli Haaretz characterizes the new protests in Morocco as "Morocco joins Arab world unrest," obviously deferential toward Arab leaders From the article:

Uniformed police kept their distance from the protest but plain-clothes officers with notebooks mingled with the crowd amid chants of "The people reject a constitution made for slaves!" and "Down with autocracy!"

Some called on the fragile coalition government of Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi to leave. Placards and slogans made no direct attacks on the king although one criticized the influence of firms in which his family is the biggest investor.

Analysts say Morocco, a Western ally with a reformist monarch and growing economy, is one of the Arab countries least likely to succumb to the violent unrest sweeping the region.

Al Jazeera report on Morocco protests The article notes that Morocco is a constitutional monarchy and furthermore notes:

"The protest was initiated by a group calling itself the February 20 Movement for Change, which has attracted 19,000 followers on the social networking website Facebook

Demonstrations were also planned in Morocco's other main cities, including Marrakesh, the top tourist destination.

Salaheddine Mezouar, the finance minister, urged citizens to boycott the march, warning that any "slip may in the space of a few weeks cost us what we have achieved over the last 10 years".

From a BBC report, this note from former BBC Morocco correspondent Richard Hamilton:

Former BBC Morocco correspondent Richard Hamilton says regular protests are allowed, the economy is growing and the government has promised to double food subsidies.

But beneath the surface real problems are lurking, he adds - with a huge young population, many of them poor or unemployed; a gap between rich and poor described by one commentator as "obscene"; and parliamentary elections said by critics to be a fig leaf for an undemocratic system.

Calls for #feb20 protests posted in the past days:

Carne Ross tweets: "in reporting #Feb20 protests in #Morocco, @BBC like many fails 2 mention Morocco's occupation of #WesternSahara http://tinyurl.com/67nt6mr"

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