Rabat - Nawal Ben Aissa, the 36-year-old successor to leading activist, Nasser Zafzafi arrested Monday, said today that the residents of Al Hoceima “do not need anything from the government; they need the intervention of the supreme decisive authority in Morocco,” in other words, King Mohammed VI.
Rabat – Nawal Ben Aissa, the 36-year-old successor to leading activist, Nasser Zafzafi arrested Monday, said today that the residents of Al Hoceima “do not need anything from the government; they need the intervention of the supreme decisive authority in Morocco,” in other words, King Mohammed VI.
In a televised interview with BBC Arabic, Ben Aissa, who was invited to talk about recent developments with the protests in Al Hoceima with Moroccan political analyst Bilal Talidi, said that “the series of arrests is still ongoing.” She said that the general strike will last until the state releases the detained activists and responds to the social demands the residents have been calling for the past seven months.
Questioned about the political agenda and claims such as “separatism” that have been leveled against the Rif protesters, Ben Aissa said “the [claims] are wrong, they are just fallacies and rumors used against them, because we took peacefully to the streets to claim our basic rights – universal rights, including health, education and job opportunities.” She asserted that it is “the state [which] treats us as if we are supporting ‘separatism’ or ‘fitna’ [chaos].’’’
Talidi, asked why King Mohammed VI and Head of Government, Saad Eddine Othmani, Ddid not appear to talk about the issue, said that “ the Ministry of Interior is the one which assumed the management of this issue and it is the one which created the security approach – but it seems that the approach had adverse repercussions – it could not stop the protests or undermine it.”
“When we talk about the King,” Talidi continued. “He has the constitutional authority to intervene.”
In response to the question posed to Talidi, Ben Aissa said that “the Rif inhabitants are not awaiting anything from the government.” She noted that “seven ministers had already come to Al Hoceima promising its inhabitants [various things, but] they have not yet invited anyone for dialogue.”
“They promised the residents to respond to the demands which are basic rights, but unfortunately we were shocked when they started arresting the young inhabitants of Rif,” explained Ben Aissa, who has become the iconic figure of the Hirak popular movement since the arrest of the leading activist, Nasser Zafzafi.
Zafzafi had been leading the protest movement in the Rif region, sparked in October 2016 by the death of fisherman, Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed in a trash compactor whilst protesting the confiscation of his merchandise by the authorities.
Zafzafi was taken into custody on Monday after interrupting a Friday sermon that he perceived to be denouncing the “Hirak” movement. He was transferred to Casablanca for investigation and has since been charged with “obstructing the right of worship” and “undermining state security.”