Rabat - The recent statements of head of government and Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Abdelilah Benkirane, have shone a spotlight on the strained friction within the PJD Electronic Brigade, known better as the Knight of Justice and Development.
Rabat – The recent statements of head of government and Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Abdelilah Benkirane, have shone a spotlight on the strained friction within the PJD Electronic Brigade, known better as the Knight of Justice and Development.
After Benkirane’s controversial statements following the tragic death of fish vendor, Mohsen Fikri, urging PJD supporters not to join the protestors denouncing horrific death, the Electronic Brigade’s members took to social media networks to counterattack the stance of Benkirane, which they viewed as “a sort of censorship and a crackdown on freedom of speech.”
In a statement given on October 14, Benkirane denounced the attack launched by the E-Brigade against Ministers party leaders. He called upon those who may have links with “these creatures that [he does not] know where they hide, to tell them to calm down.” For his own part, Benkirane claimed to have “no personal knowledge as to their identities.”
In response to Benkirane’s statement, one of the PJD’s members said, “On Facebook they [the Knights of Justice and Development] are the Electronic Brigade, while during the electoral campaign they were donkey mills.”
Since then Benkirane has publicly distanced himself and his party from the Knights of Justice and Development. He has denounced their use of social media to gain support for the PJD as using unethical means.
In the same context, another member of the PJD said, “As far as I know Benkirane does not lose patience with other different opinions […] He knows the power of the Electronic Brigade and its political weight, though his recent strong statement against the Electronic Brigade is a recognition from him [shows] its weight. Benkirane [only] wants its support. He currently does not want its recommendations concerning the PJD alliance [with the other parties].”
Despite this, a determined group of PJD members poured into the streets to express their solidarity with the fishmonger, disregarding Benkirane’s urges to avoid joining the protestors in the squares.
Following the release of his statement, several Moroccans openly expressed their dismay, questioning whether Benkirane is the head of the government for all citizens, or merely a tool of the PJD and its supporters.
Edited by Constance Guindon