Morocco

Video: Al Hoceima’s Protesters: We Are Not Separatists and We Love Our Country

Chaima Lahsini

Rabat - The streets of Al Hoceima were still swarming with protesters as of Saturday. “Freedom, dignity and social justice!” The people’s voice is loudly laying claim to their social and economic demands, which many see to be “legitimate.”

Since the birth of the Hirak movement and the start of the massive but peaceful protests in Northern Morocco, however, dangerous accusations have been pointed at the Rif people. From accusing the Hirak of receiving foreign financing to deeming their demands to be those of separatists, many want to draw a line between the economic and social demands of the movement from its separatist and ethnic demands.

In a video filmed by our colleagues from Le360, the news website gathered the testimonies of the protesters, who insist that their protests do not diminish their love for their country, and refute any separatist accusations.

“We are Moroccans, no one loves this country as much as we do,” insists one the citizens featured in the video. “Our demands are clear and simple, they’re social and economic ones.”

“It is time for the sound of reason to be heard. Those accusations of separatism and threatening are not founded!” The man continues, adding that “Our people are patriots! No one will defend Morocco like the Rif people do.”

Insisting on their love and loyalty to the King, the speaker featured in the video recalls that, during the protests, people always cheer for the King. “No one questions the Monarchy in the Rif, no one questions our love and devotion for the King!”

“When the King visits the region in the summer, His Majesty strolls down the city with ease and in a very natural manner!” They stress that their demands are purely social and economic and that at no time do they seek to destabilize the country.

“We are not separatist, we just want to live with dignity,” adds another man.

The need to justify themselves and prove to the rest of Morocco that they are in no way trying to create strife in the country is not a new ordeal for the Rif people.

Gathered in the evening of Sunday, May 14 in Rabat, under the presidency of Interior Minister, Abdelouafi Laftit, six leaders of the majority parties spoke in unison against the protests regularly organized in Al Hoceima since the death of Mohcine Fikri in October 2016. According to the latter, these protests “must be carried under the law without harming the public and private interests and property.”

The leaders of these groups accused the militants of hijacking the socio-economic demands and of damaging the public goods, as well as suspecting the involvement of “outside parties” in financing and supporting the movement. Those accusations were rejected by demonstrators on many occasions.

Nasser Zafzafi, one of the leaders of the Hirak, denounced the claim that he had called for “a provocation” of the authorities which, according to him, are adding “fuel to the fire.”

Comments

Editorial

Opinions

  • The Moroccan Gold Eldorado
    20

    The Moroccan Gold Eldorado, a Myth or a Reality?

    Rabat - Recently, a conspiracy theory video about a large gold discovery in Morocco is making rounds online. The video claims that a substantial gold reserve was discovered and is being extracted by a Canadian mining company called Maya Gold and Silver. We Moroccans are very proud human beings, we love our country and cherish...

  • Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
    20

    Qatar: How the Tables Are Turning in The Gulf

    Rabat - Amidst harsh sanctions and a long list of demands from its neighbors, Qatar’s ability to thrive under pressure may prove to be problematic for Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia and its coalition attempt to wait out Qatar, the recent spat in the Gulf continues to become more and more global, and severely against...

  • FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. If the nation doesn’t do more, the U.S. probably won’t quite meet the dramatic heat-trapping gas reduction goal it promised in last year’s Paris agreement to battle climate change, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
    20

    Climate Change : If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Fix It

    Chefchaouen - Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Chefchaouen is doing its part by embracing clean energy climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate action. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are...

  • 20

    India Orders Internal Probe into Mistaken Use of Morocco-Spain Border Picture

    Hyderabad - The Indian Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordered an internal investigation to find out how a picture of Morocco-Spain border was used in its annual report to show floodlights along the India-Pakistan border. What is most embarrassing is that the annual report of previous years was tabled during the Budget Session of Indian...

  • Amid Growing Tension, Thousands of Moroccans Stage Pro-Rif March in Rabat
    20

    Neglect in Harsh Soil: The Deep Roots of the Rif Crisis

    Rabat - The ongoing protests in northern Morocco started almost eight months ago, but they have their origin in nearly a century of violent repression by the state. The Rif has, in spite of itself, got involved into a peaceful revolt since the death of the fishmonger Mohcine Fikri at the end of October 2016, a...

  • Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani emir of Qatar
    20

    The Qatar Crisis: What Does It Mean?

    Rabat - The recent diplomatic fallout between Qatar and the rest of the Middle East could have serious economic and geopolitical consequences across the globe. Earlier this week, Qatar’s diplomatic crisis took an extreme turn as several Arab states severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf nation.  The original list of countries in the coalition against...

  • Moroccans spend Laylat al-Qadr, the 26th day of Ramadan, at the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.
    20

    Ramadan: Not just Abstinence from Daily Intakes 

    By Abdellatif Oudra Rabat - The observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, compels Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset. But it is not just about abstaining from food or drink.  Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed in commemoration of the revelation of Qur’an to the prophet Mohammad,...

  • Morocco Threatens to Terminate Agriculture Agreement with Europe
    20

    Morocco and the EU: Managing the Future

    Rabat - Morocco enjoys proximity to Europe and is at an advantage of being favoured by the European Union as a close partner on political, economic, and cultural levels. Historical archives and political legacies tie Morocco directly with at least three influential European countries: France, Spain, and England. Demography, kinship, and immigration compel other EU...

  • The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab Spring
    20

    The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab 'Spring'

    Rabat - In the last ten years or so, the Arab world has seen unprecedented collapses in the realms of politics and economy, among others. World NGOs regularly release area-specific rankings, in which Arab nations commonly rank at the bottom of lists in education, human rights, and income for instance while they top those of...

  • Thousands Hold Peaceful Demonstration in Memory of Mouhcine Fikri
    20

    Al Hoceima and the Pedagogical Exercise

    Ottawa - What makes a democracy different from non-democracy? This is the classical and historical question asked by philosophers over the centuries and deeply questioned in the discipline of political science. Democracy cannot prevent inequality as the case in the United States where inequality is the highest globally. Democracy cannot stop corruption like in Brazil...