International Labor Day, celebrated on May 1, brought thousands of demonstrators to a march in Rabat. Organizations represented teachers, pharmacists, transportation workers, and a range of other professions.
Rabat – Organized into lines and supervised by police, more than a dozen unions, syndicates, and groups marched to the Parliament in Rabat during Labor Day in Morocco.
Observed on May 1, Labor Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, is meant to celebrate all laborers and working-class citizens.
To begin the national protest, each of the participating organizations hosted individual rallies throughout the capital. Bedecked in their organization’s official colors, the clusters of protestors made pockets of white, blue, red, and pink all over Rabat.
At approximately 11 a.m., each group made their way to Hassan II Avenue before turning onto Mohammed V Avenue and making their way to the Parliament.
Along with union organizers, police officers facilitated the march by directing traffic and communicating directly with unions about when to move the next group of protesters forward.
Police officers, who were seen working with union staff, declined Morocco World News’ request for comment on their role in facilitating the march.
The national march was coordinated between a series of groups, including the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH), who have been unable to provide a complete list of the groups at the march.
Some of organizations present were the Alliance of Free Trade Unions (ASL), the Cell 9 Coordination, the Democratic Labor Organization (ODT), the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT), the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the General Union of Moroccan Workers (UGMT), the General Union of Workers in Morocco (UGTM), the National Association of Technical Assistants in Pharmacies of Morocco (ANATP), the National Federation of Teachers (UMT), the National Teacher Federation (FNE), and the National Union of Labor in Morocco (UNTM).
“We want our voice to be heard all over the world, which is why we are marching on International Labor Day,” Jalal Errazi, a member of the Cell 9 Coordination’s Slogan Committee, told MWN. “By marching with others, we learn about their marginalization and injustices we all suffer.”
The official march ended at approximately 3 p.m., but teacher members of the Cell 9 Coordination decided to prolong their protest in front of Parliament.
The extended demonstration led to an altercation between protesters and police when officers in riot gear were deployed with orders to disperse the remaining crowds. According to organizers of the Cell 9 Coordination, five of their members were arrested and two others injured.
Riot police at the march declined MWN’s request for comment.
Leading up to Labor Day
Just two days prior to Labor Day, on Monday, April 29, the Independent Union of Public Sector Doctors (SIMSP) hosted a march from the Ministry of Health to the Parliament.
In the last six months, nearly 560 doctors have resigned in protest of the current conditions of Moroccan hospitals. The shortage of doctors has caused the suspension of surgical operations in several public hospitals.
The doctors’ protest was held on the same day that thousands of contractual teachers returned to the classroom for the first time since February.
The Coordination of Teachers Forced into Contracts (CNPCC) announced the suspension of their strike following one of the most turbulent months of the movement. Since February 20, contractual teachers have been demanding the government hire them into the public sector.