Rabat - Government spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi stated on Thursday that 700 sit-ins have been held in the region of Al Hoceima in the past seven months.
Rabat – Government spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi stated on Thursday that 700 sit-ins have been held in the region of Al Hoceima in the past seven months.
Khalfi, who is also the Delegate Minister to the Head of Government for Relations with Parliament and Civil Society, added that the city itself has seen 150 sit-ins, while speaking at a press conference following the government coalition’s latest weekly meeting.
In response to encroachments recorded by the human rights organization following actions by security forces to disperse the protestors, Khalfi said that “the peaceful protests are legitimate rights guaranteed by the law.”
“The government is following the issue with the regional committees of National Council for Human Rights to deal with any encroachment.”
The past seven months of protests in Al Hoceima followed the late October death of Mouhcine Fikri, a fishmonger who was crushed to death in a trash compactor while attempting to retrieve merchandise thrown away by authorities.
Since then, protests and large-scale marches have been staged in Al Hoceima and its surrounding areas demanding socio-economic inclusion and development projects.
Tensions have grown in the region in the past week following the police’s pursuit and arrest of leading activist Nasser Zefzafi. He was taking into custody on Monday along with many other activists after interrupting a Friday sermon he felt was denouncing the “Hirak” movement, and was transferred to Casablanca for investigation. Zefzafi has been charged with “obstructing the right of worship” and “undermining state security.”
The government has responded to pleas of the families and lawyers to visit the detained activists.