This is not the first time that protesters have burned Moroccan flags in France, stirring outrage among Moroccans across the world.
Images circulating on social media and online show a group of fewer than 20 people, mostly men in their 30s and 40s, holding banners bearing anti-Morocco slogans.
Instead of Moroccan flags, protesters carried and waved Rif flags.
The photos show protesters burning Moroccan flags and images of King Mohammed VI and his late father, King Hassan II. The images also show security services surrounding the area.
Ahead of the protest, one of the demonstrators posted an image of the Moroccan flag on his Facebook page, encouraging people to bring and burn the Moroccan flag. The photo’s caption referred to the flag as “fuel” for the fire.
A Facebook group entitled RIF Boss also posted photographs of the protest, showing demonstrators burning the flag while insulting Morocco and its monarchy.
The photos ignited anger among Moroccans, with several social media users condemning the act.
“Whoever sells his country has no good in him,” Facebook users repeated throughout the comments section on the photographs.
Said Chaou, a former Moroccan MP turned drug lord is suspected to be the mastermind behind these protests. Chaou has been the subject of an international arrest warrant after he fled the country in 2010 and settled in the Netherlands.
This is the second time that protesters have burned Moroccan flags, after the demonstration that took place on October 26, 2019 in Paris.
During that Paris protest, demonstrators burned the Moroccan flag and, instead, carried Rif and Amazigh (Berber) flags.
Some protesters even carried the Catalan flag.
Morocco’s government condemned the burning of the Moroccan flag at the October protest. MPs also sang the Moroccan anthem during a parliament session in response to the action.
The Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) issued a statement condemning the burning of the flag, describing the move as a “cowardly,” “childish,” and “barbaric” act.
“The desecration of the national flag is a criminal act that has nothing to do with freedom of expression,” stated CCME Secretary-General Abdellah Boussouf.
Article 267-2 of the penal code stipulates that undermining the country’s symbols, or inciting people to commit such acts by speeches, threats or in public places or meetings is a criminal offense.
The article adds that people who commit such acts by speech or writing or in printed items could be sentenced to between three months and one year in prison. Individuals involved in such acts could also pay a fine of 20,000 to MAD 200,000.