Civil security officers who accused two Casablanca street musicians of “violence,” leading to their arrest, have withdrawn their complaints.
Rabat- The trial of street artists Badr Mouataz, 25, and Mehdi Achataoui, 28, began today.
The young men’s lawyer, Youssef Chehbi, announced that the officers all withdrew their complaints and the court is set to issue its judgement later in the day.
Several activists and people on social media called on authorities in Casablanca to release the young musicians, considering their arrest a “violations of their rights as artists.”
On November 13, the Casablanca police arrested Mouataz and Atachatoui, who were performing at the United Nations. Both artists are known for various street performances, andthey face charges for “practising violence against civil security forces on duty.”
The two musicians reportedly lost their cool after the police officers tried to seize their musical instruments.
The musicians were caught off guard when the wali (governor) of Casablanca, Abdelkebir Zahoud, decided to ban street art performances in the area.
The decision came after residents complained about loud music causing a disturbance.
A number of musicians organized a sit-in last week at the square, where they held banners that read, “The ban is not a solution” and “Street art in silence?”
Hashtags, namely “#FreeMusiciens” and “#Free_Lfen” (Free art), have emerged online to denounce both the ban on street performances and the arrest of the musicians.
Many Moroccans also opposed how the authorities and complaining residents described music as “noise,” noting that street performances bring fun and many streets around the world are stages for young, talented performers.