The demonstrators protested the alleged torture of Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi.
Rabat – An estimated 3,000 people gathered in Brussels on Saturday afternoon demanding Morocco release political prisoners from the Hirak movement in Morocco’s Rif region, according to the Brussels police.
The demonstrators carried banners and placards calling for the unconditional release of all prisoners and the lifting of the blockade.
They also displayed the traditional flags of the Rif region and the resistance against French and Spanish colonization. Some, including relatives of prisoners, delivered speeches at the Schuman square where major EU institutions are located.
The demonstrators called on the EU to demand respect for human rights in Morocco. They also protested the alleged torture of Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi.
“These prisoners were arbitrarily sentenced to 10, 15 or 20 years in prison simply for claiming basic rights,” Aissa Dmam, a demonstrator and member of the Mouhcine Fikri committee according to RTBF, told Le Soir.
“The Rif lives under an economic and military blockade. Half of the young people migrate massively to Europe and many fail in the Mediterranean,” added Dmam.
Last November, sometime after he was pardoned by King Mohammed VI, Hirak activist Mohamed Amkouh was handed a two-year prison sentence for insulting security forces.
Two months later, Morocco summoned the Dutch ambassador to Morocco over the Netherlands’ criticism of the Hirak sentences.
In December 2017, 900 people demonstrated in Brussels to demand the release of Hirak prisoners.
A fish seller named Mouhcine Fikri was crushed in a dumpster in October 2016 after the police confiscated his goods. The incident sparked a wave of protests.
Launched in October 2015, a year before Al Hoceima protests began following Fikri’s death, delays in the Al Hoceima’s five-year development mega-project put the government under pressure. Several ministers were sacked as a result of the delays.