Rabat – NGO Transparency Maroc has heavily criticized the government’s stance against the ongoing boycott against increases in prices. The organization said that the boycott faced “intense suppression.”
The NGO claims that the boycott was met with harsh remonstrations, like the Hirak Rif protests in the Al Hoceima province, ‘Hirak Al Atach’ (thirst protest) in Zagora, and Jerada’s protests against illegal mining.
In a statement published on May 22, Transparency Maroc described the online campaign as an “extension” of the social movements of the Hirak Rif, Zagora, and Jerada that denounced social disparities across the country.
According to the NGO, the movement resulted primarily from a “shake-up of an economic system based on corruption” and a “marriage between economic and political powers.”
The boycott and previous social movements, according to Transparency Maroc, are “an opportunity for Morocco, provided that the state recognizes its dimensions and profound significance.”
The NGO also urged authorities to take responsibility in dealing with the crisis and to “respect public freedom” and fight against corruption in the country.
The boycott, which started on April 20, has proved to be successful and is expanding its reach to include fish products, due to price hikes.
Several officials denounced the boycott, including Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi. El Khalfi condemned the boycott earlier this month, asserting that online activists’ claims of price increases are “fake news.”
Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Boussaid also condemned the boycott and described people supporting the boycott as “madawikh” (fools).
In response to the increasing tension between boycotters and the government, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani apologized to consumers during a meeting held at the parliament in mid-May, calling for tolerance.
The head of government apologized for statements made by some ministers in his government, emphasizing that his cabinet is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect consumers.
The government has been following the campaign and is implementing a set of measures to meet the needs and aspirations expressed and will ensure the protection of the purchasing power of citizens, El Othmani added.
Five weeks on, the boycott continues as people supporting the campaign are calling on the government to urge the boycotted companies (Sidi Ali, Afriquia gas, Centrale Danone) to lower the prices of their products.