Saturday, June 25, 2011

Morocco Rallies Sunday ~ for and against constitutional change

Moroccan officials are organising local inhabitants to confront pro-democracy demonstrators planning a peaceful protest on Sunday. In Fez, a rally in favour of the "Yes" vote will take begin at 5pm in Place Florence and march to the Royal Palace.

"Violence targeting the youth of the February 20 movement backed by local authorities is dangerous and is worrying," the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) wrote in a letter to the interior ministry.
"Authorities are taking advantage of the inhabitants' socio-economic hardships to set them up against the young people who demonstrate peacefully," it added.

Communication Minister Khalid Naciri rejected the claims, writing to AFP of "spontaneous gatherings of people who support the government's project for constitutional reform." And, also reported by AFP, most political parties have called for "massive" counter-rallies every day across Morocco until June 30 to support the king's proposals, which are to be put to a referendum on July 1.

For the government, Naciri said of the statement protesting against the counter-demonstrators: "It is unfair to describe them in such a negative way.""We are so confident about the support we have from the majority of the population that these are just some dissonant voices trying to shake us."

The French-language weekly Tel Quel responded sceptically to the proposed reforms in its Saturday publication. The Islamist Justice and Charity group has also rejected the proposals and said it would participate in Sunday's rally.

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