By Chaymaa Benallouch
By Chaymaa Benallouch
Rabat – Moroccan intellectuals say that the first step to put an end to the “Hirak” movement in the Rif is to release all detained activists and to talk to the representatives of the region.
The recommendation came in a statement signed by Moroccan intellectuals regarding the “Hirak” in the Rif, among them the writer and poet Abdellatif Laabi, the writer and translator Mohamed Ahrouba, the journalist Fatima El Ifriki, the writer and poet Abderrahim El Khessar, the historian Maati Monjib and the professor Khalid Bakari.
“The first step to finding an effective solution to what is happening in the Rif is to release all the detainees of the movement and to engage in an immediate and wise dialogue with the representatives of the region in order to respond to the citizens’ legitimate social, cultural and economic rights,” the statement said.
Intellectuals stressed their deep concern about the “disturbing” developments in the situation. They also expressed their support for the peaceful and civilized movement in the Rif.
The statement called on the state and its agencies to deal “positively” with the rights of the citizens, instead of resorting to a security approach at the expense of all humanitarian conditions adopted by the state.
The statement stressed the need to defend the nation’s unity.
Moroccan Minister of Justice Mohamed Aujar said on Tuesday that a total of 104 people had been arrested throughout recent demonstrations in Al Hoceima and the rural province of the north.
The protests erupted following the death of fisherman Mohcine Fikri, who was crushed in a garbage truck while trying to prevent the confiscation of his fish.
Tensions have grown in the region in the past two weeks 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.”
Zafzafi’s lawyer Mohammed Ziane has said that Zafzafi has refuted the government claims that the “Hirak” movement was motivated by separatism and foreign funding.
The investigating judge of Casablanca’s Court of Appeal ordered Zafzafi and six of the 20 detainees to be placed in Casablanca’s Oukacha prison on Monday evening.