For the second time, police used water cannons and batons to disperse a contractual teachers’ overnight sit-in at the Parliament in Rabat.
Rabat – Police forces used water cannons and batons to disperse thousands of contractual teachers attempting to hold an overnight sit-in in front of Parliament.
According to early estimates from the Coordination of Teachers Forced into Contracts’ (CNPCC) 64 protestors were injured during the nearly 12-hour protest.
The demonstration began in the afternoon of Wednesday, April 24 at Rabat Agdal Train Station and ended in the morning of Thursday, April 25, in dozens of alleyways across Morocco’s capital city.
Following the use of water cannons in front of parliament at approximately 11:30 p.m., riot police spent the next several hours deploying throughout the city and using their batons to scatter any large formation of protesting teachers.
At approximately 12:45 a.m., a group of nearly 300 teachers attempted to march back to their original position in front of parliament but were chased away by roughly two dozen riot police.
“They are chasing us like dogs,” Achmed Labid, CNPCC’s coordinator for the Marrakech region, told Morocco World News (MWN). “Look at how they are treating peaceful protesters. Nights like this only inspire us to come back.”
This is the second time police have used force to disperse an overnight sit-in. The first time was on Saturday, April 23. Despite the heavy-handed response from authorities, the teachers said they will continue demonstrating to vent their dissatisfaction.
“Overnight sit-ins are important because it reminds the government that these problems do not go away when the sun goes down,” Labid said. “That is why they always break them up.”
Riot police at the event declined MWN’s request to comment.
The sit-in was the third contractual teacher protest held this week—the first two taking place on Monday and Tuesday.
The CNPCC along with other unions are planning to host protests until Saturday. Official details regarding the upcoming demonstrations have not been released.
“We will continue to put pressure on the government by protesting until they invite us back to negotiate new terms,” Zakaria Elkoti, a member of the CNPCC’s Supervising and Follow-Up Committee, told MWN. “Teachers are more motivated than ever to continue their fight for integration.”
The series of overnight sit-ins follow weeks of failed negotiations with the government. Earlier this week, the already slumbering “social dialogue” between demonstrators and authorities came to a halt again after yet another failure to reach an agreement on teachers’ demands.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education officially announced the collapse of the negotiations between the government and the teachers’ unions. Both sides are accusing each other of breaching the terms of the April 13 agreement.