Displaying Amazigh flags, wearing “where’s our wealth?” signs, and carrying banners representing the Akal Coordination, demonstrators from across Morocco rallied in Mohammed VI street in Rabat, hoping for a change.
Rabat – Hundreds of Moroccans from different cities rallied on Sunday near the Parliament in Rabat to condemn the “marginalization” of the people of Essaouira and Souss-Massa region and protest the lack of measures against overgrazing and wild boar damaging their lands.
Organized by Akal Coordination defending people’s rights to land and wealth, the protest is the second of its kind after one last November in Casablanca, as demonstrators stated that their calls “fell on deaf ears.”
The march saw a strong presence of Moroccan Amazigh (Berber) people from the Souss and the Rif region, who are calling on the government to return their “usurped lands” and conduct “a fair distribution of wealth.”
The people expressed concern over the repeated attacks of wild boars on their property, complaining that the animals destroy agriculture and plants such as argan trees in the Sous valley of southwestern Morocco.
The demonstration also addressed the issue of law 113.13 related to the management of nomadic pastoralism. The law requires shepherds to obtain permits to find pastures for their livestock to graze on a set of conditions.
“We declare our categorical refusal to pasture law 113.13 and call for a radical solution to policies that promote land expropriation, marginalization, and exclusion of indigenous people,” read the banners held by protesters.
Protesters condemned acts of overgrazing on lands they inherited from their “forefathers.” They called on the government to abolish the law permitting nomadic pastoralism, expressing frustration at the authorities’ inaction and previous “false promises” to find solutions to their problems.
The march comes a few days after the government approved three bills related to the administrative management of the property of tribal communities and “hereditary lands.”
The total of the land areas is estimated at 15 million hectares distributed among 4,563 ethnic groups in the country.