Rabat – Hirak Rif (Rif Movement) leader Nasser Zefzafi, serving to 20 years in prison, has called for a march to honor the 3rd-anniversary of Mouhcine Fikri’s death.
Zefzafi’s call for march came in a letter he dictated to his father on the phone. He addressed the letter to all Rifians living in Europe, calling on them to gather in Paris, on October 26.
In his letter, Zefzafi told the Rifians to not let “despair control them and obstruct their way. Our path to freedom is long and difficult.”
He added that “patience and hope is the weapon to fight their struggles until achieving their purpose.”
“Our people (Rifians) are going through difficult times which can be overcome and fought by leaving aside all that leads to division and discord,” Zefzafi wrote.
The Hirak Rif leader, who is serving time in Ras Lma prison in Fez, recalled that “the victory of their ancestors over colonialism started from leaving tribal conflicts and uniting ranks because the interest of the Rif region is above everything else.”
The death of Mouhcine Fikri was the catalyst for the Hirak Rif movement.
Fikri, an informal sector fishmonger, was crushed to death in a garbage truck in October 2016 while attempting to retrieve his goods. Local authorities had seized and disposed of his merchandise in the truck.
Many activists, led by Nasser Zefzafi, were arrested for conspiracy against the security of the state after they protested the living conditions in Al Hoceima in 2016 and 2017.
Fikri’s death caused a surge in protests in Al Hoceima and the surrounding areas. Chanting social slogans, the protesters decried social disparities in the region and called on the government to establish infrastructures such as roads, universities, and hospitals.
The sentencing of the activists also prompted protests. The Hirak movement came to Rabat, with protests outside parliament calling for the immediate release of the activists.