The suspects called for disruptive public action to free prisoners and to protest the temporary closure of Morocco’s mosques.
Rabat – Two male suspects were arrested Monday, March 16 in Tetouan over charges of inciting violence and disregard for safety measures to curb the novel coronavirus spread.
Local authorities arrested the two men, aged 38 and 45, for allegedly inciting the public to defy safety and prevention measures related to COVID-19. The suspects are also charged with committing crimes and offenses against people and public order.
The incidents and arrests took place in Tetouan, a city near Tangier in the north of Morocco, according to the national police.
The first suspect allegedly called on Moroccans to attack correctional facilities and to release inmates in the event that the pandemic escalates. The messaging was shared through a social media post.
Police arrested the second suspect while he was reportedly hanging a banner on the windshield of his car, calling for the defiance against the temporary closure of mosques. The closure is an official measure to curb the COVID-19 spread.
Police investigations are underway to determine the motives behind suspects’ actions, authorities added.
This comes amid widespread panic in Morocco and across the globe. Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani held a press conference to reassure anxious Moroccan citizens following panicked grocery shopping, one of several government measures to quell public anxiety.
Morocco’s social sector is not alone suffering impacts from the pandemic. The economy is taking a serious hit with Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al Maghrib, forecasting the country’s economic growth to stagnate at 2.3% in 2020.