Sunday, August 18, 2013

Morocco Reacts to Events in Egypt

While Moroccans were initially supportive of the ousting of the Egyptian leader, Mohamed Morsi, the sentiment is now mixed with understandable outrage at the carnage over the last few days 

The clearing of Cairo's Al Fath mosque was greeted with mixed feelings. The thousands of pro-government supporters outside and the anti-governmant supporters inside was symbolic of the differing views held in Morocco. The firing of live ammunition by pro-Morsi supporters from the minaret was greeted with the same feelings as the firing of tear gas into the mosque. "The country has gone crazy," was the general opinion in one Fez cafe today.

"Stand by their people not to drag the nation into a quagmire" - PJD

Morocco's ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) condemned Wednesday's violent police dispersal of the deposed president's supporters at two major sit-ins in Cairo and Giza.

The PJD said Egypt's interim government was "making repeated mistakes" and it called on Egyptian authorities "to stand by their people not to drag the nation into a quagmire." The party described the crackdown as a "horrible massacre" and said "those who are committing crimes against humanity must be punished heavily."

The PJD urged the reinstatement of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi -- who was ousted in a Juy 3 military coup -- calling on Egyptian people to continue to voice their legitimate demands.

Morocco's main oppositon party, Modernity and Authenticity and several other parties had also condemned Wednesday's deadly crackdown.

In Rabat people took to the streets with around 10,000 joining a demonstration today (Sunday) in support of Islamists in Egypt.

The crowd carried banners condemning the police operations that have cost hundreds of lives among demonstrators demanding the reinstatement of Egypt's army-ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and posters showing the dead in makeshift morgues in Cairo.

"Soldiers should be carrying out their duty of protecting the nation's territory instead of killing their own people," said Driss Leghroudi, a 33-year-old academic.

"History is repeating itself. It happened in Algeria in 1992 (with its civil war) ... It's Saudi Arabia which is behind it" in Egypt, he charged, as the crowd chanted for the expulsion of the Egyptian ambassador to Morocco.

The anti-Saudi sentiment was widespread as Moroccan protestors chant slogans against the Saudi and Emirates’ rulers for their support for the Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

“The rulers of the Gulf are all evil, they are like Bashar,” say the protestors in a clear reference to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“They brought destruction to Egypt,” add the protestors.

Morocco initially adopted a neutral stand after last month's toppling of Morsi but the authorities in Rabat have since expressed alarm over the carnage resulting from a security crackdown to remove Morsi's supporters from the streets.

In Cairo a protestor throws a molotov cocktail

A statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said, "Following information about the death of a number of Egyptian protesters in Cairo, Morocco expresses its emotion and dismay, and condemns the loss of human lives."

Morocco "deems that only dialogue can lead all parties to making the compromises necessary for a political solution for the interest of the Egyptian people," it said, expressing Morocco's solidarity with the Egyptian people and the hope that Egypt could regain political stability and social peace.

According to the latest reports, more than 750 people have been killed in violence across Egypt since Wednesday.

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