Rabat - Leading detained activists of the Hirak Rif protest movement have said they are willing to engage in dialogue to put an end to the tension and deadlock in the region.
Rabat – Leading detained activists of the Hirak Rif protest movement have said they are willing to engage in dialogue to put an end to the tension and deadlock in the region.
The announcement was made by a civil society initiative advocating for the Rif, known as Al Mobadara, in a statement on Monday.
Al Mobadara said that the detained Hirak leaders called for “rebuilding trust” between the region and the government and for decreasing the prison population in the Rif.
Mohamed Neshnash, Al Mobadara’s spokesperson, told Morocco World News that this is not the first time leading activists of Hirak have shown that they are ready to end the crisis, pointing to their calls on other fellow protesters in the region to not hold any demonstrations on the occasion of the Throne Day in late July.
He also brought up the detainees’ agreement to call off their hunger strike as another example showing they are willing to engage in dialogue and help calm the reigning tension in the region.
Neshnash explained that the leading activists currently in prison have expressed their faith in King Mohammed VI, who they said showed concern for the social and economic demands of the local population when he ordered an investigation into the delay of development projects in the region.
Getting the government to meet these demands had been the primary driver behind local residents’ months of protests.
Al Mobadara’s spokesperson said that the detainees are only asking for a guarantee of the projects’ completion and a timetable for when this will occur.
The main demand of the Hirak leaders and the local population outside of prison remains the release of detainees. Around 250 people remain in custody for their involvement in protests in Rif.
“Leaders of the Hirak are ready to go to trial,” said Neshnash. For the rest of the detainees, the leaders ask for their gradual release, explained the veteran human rights activist.
Al Mobadara also asked for the release of the detainees, among whom he said were students. As the school year begins, “it will a good gesture that helps calming down the situation and serves the homeland as a whole if these detainees are released,” said Neshnash.
The human activist said he found it illogical that “boys under the age of 17 are detained in the name of preserving the state’s authority.”
Neshnash said he is hopeful the Moroccan state will act with reason, stating the ongoing detention of Rifian activists is not helping Morocco’s image as a stable country aspiring to move towards democracy.