Thursday, March 29, 2012

Massive Marches Expected in Morocco

Moroccan political bodies have called for citizens to take part in the largest march in the Morocco's history - "The March to Jerusalem".  The march will take place this coming Sunday with activities on Friday as well. The recent mass marches in Rabat have been seen as the prelude to the Jerusalem march events. Plans for the event include a joint forum with students from Jordan and a declaration of a fast day in efforts to show solidarity with Jerusalem.

On Friday, a number of marches will be held simultaneously, leaving from Casablanca, Fes and Meknes. Two days later pro-Palestinian organizations will launch a mass rally in Casablanca expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

The Moroccan Islamist group Al Adl Wa Al Ihssan (Justice and Charity) called in a statement all the Moroccan people to make Friday March 30 “a day of solidarity and protest in support of Palestine and Jerusalem” by organizing protest marches in all the Moroccan cities.

Last Sunday's pro-Palestinian march in Rabat

The Islamic group had organized a massive march for Jerusalem in Rabat last Sunday (25/3) but no political bodies which support the Palestinian issue participated in the march.

Next Sunday's march (1/4) was called for by several political bodies and parties, left-wing and right-wing, in addition to Justice and Development Party, and its ideological wing the Unification and Reform Movement, in order to organize “the largest march in Morocco history to support Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause,” according to Lakom Kam newspaper on Wednesday (28/3). The organisers have picked Casablanca as a starting point due to its huge participation. The march comes as a response to “justice and charity” march which surprised the observers in terms of participants’ numbers and the movement’s ability to organise.

The newspaper stated that the observers are waiting for the government’s reaction and media in dealing with the next march. The government has allowed the Justice and Charity group to organize a huge march for the first time, though it is not licensed to operate yet as a political party, but the official media had totally ignored the march that surprised the observers, the newspaper added.

The march will be in solidarity with other marches around the Arab world. In Lebanon, participants will convene for a prayer session on the Beaufort, which overlooks the border with Israel. Public figures are expected to deliver a speech at the site, with organizers looking forward to welcoming tens of thousands of participants.

According to Lebanese reports, security forces held a Turkish vessel carrying activists from Iran, Turkey and other Asian states for long hours. Hezbollah representatives reportedly mediated in efforts to resolve the crisis.

Jordan has set the gathering point at the site where it is believed that Jesus was baptized, a location overlooking Jerusalem. According to plans, this rally will also include speeches and masses of protestors.

Jordanian coordinator of the march, Ribhi Halloum, said: "We feel the immense interest in the event expressed through donations from private individuals and the Islamic Movement."

The Al-Dustour newspaper reported that Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh expressed his readiness to provide the Jordanian government's sponsorship to the march which he said would be non-violent.

While there is no public safety threat, tourists in Morocco are advised to avoid the areas where the marches are taking place.



Michelle said...

And yet another nail in the coffin for Morocco's tourist industry.

When those of us in the West see these images, and see how the Islamists are inciting the young Moroccans, we know that the Morocco we knew and loved is disappearing. It will soon be a return to the dark ages. So sad for you...

Sandy McCutcheon said...

I understand your feeling, but it is hard to imagine that 33 million Moroccans share the views held by 100,000 or so Salafists. It is important for Morocco that it retains its modern tolerant record. Those in power may be letting the extremists let off steam, but they are very aware of how important tourism is and especially the yearly influx of tens of thousands of Israeli/Moroccans who come home to visit the shrines of the old Rabbis. Shalom and Salaam are so close that only idiots would want to destroy the relationship that exists in Morocco.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't any of you "enlightened" westerners that like the "current" Morocco NEVER EVER move a finger against all the injustices the current regime is responsible for? You enjoy your Riads and Hosts Houses and live rich lives while the average Moroccan is struggling to make ends meet while a predatory monarchy is literally selling Morocco piece meal and acting as a de facto economical, political and even spiritual monopoly.
The Morocco you cherish so much is not working for all Moroccans. It is only working a for a tiny minority that is collecting the crumbs the monarchy is leaving on the table. And because there are no freedoms whatsoever, the young Moroccans are finding refuge in religion and are massively turning into conservatives Moroccan style.
The "Jamaa" is doing nothing but harvest these low hanging fruits. They don't even need to spend a lot of energy recuperating these Moroccans. The complete alienation the vast Moroccan majority is feeling is slowly, but steadily moving them to the extreme right. There are some causes that unite most Moroccans, and the Palestinian cause is one of them. Expect to see more of this "new" Morocco. And if you don't like it, blame yourself, along with many Moroccans, for not speaking out more against the predatory attitude of the Moroccan monarchy.