Another 42 degree Celsius day in Fez - not the sort of weather to encourage people to get out and protest. However, the hardy were not discouraged and at 5pm, several hundred, mainly young women, turned out in central Fez to show their support for the constitutional changes. Later in the march they were joined by others.
|Pro-royalists in Fez|
|Fatima Rais (red cap) one of the rally organisers and Mehdi Lamnini (in the cape)|
One of the organisers of the march, Fatima Rais, told The View from Fez that she was happy with the turnout of the march, despite the more than 40 degree heat. At the beginning of the rally Fatima said she expected the rally to grow to around 1000. And, with the addition of school children and their teachers, as well as car-loads of young men, she was proved right. Another rally official reported to us that the number was over 1000 by the time the march arrived at the royal palace. The event was without incident.
Around the country other demonstrators, both for and against Morocco's new constitution, took to the streets. In Rabat a march of at least 1,000 calling for the boycott of the referendum on Sunday was blocked by police as well as a few hundred government supporters. The two groups, separated by riot police, chanted rival slogans. Activists reported brief scuffles and some injuries.
In Casablanca, government supporters also blocked a pro-democracy march of thousands in downtown.
Videos posted on the Feb. 20 website also showed demonstrations in the cities of Tangiers, Marrakech and Tetouan.