The demonstration came while Casablanca maintains relatively strict lockdown measures, classified as a “Zone 2” prefecture.
Rabat – As Morocco reported its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the start of its outbreak, lawyers took to the streets in Casablanca, the country’s largest city, protesting the “storming” of a law firm associated with the Federation of Young Lawyers.
The protesters appeared in front of the Civil Court of First Instance to condemn the unauthorized entry into a Casablanca law firm and seizure of documents on June 18.
Federation demonstrators called for protection, as well as “counteracting the illegal act and responding to the steadfast call to defend the dignity of the profession,” according to local outlet 2M.
The attorney general’s office at the Court of Appeal in Casablanca had announced on June 18 that judicial police launched an investigation relating to the unlawful entry as soon as a lawyer filed a complaint.
Following the statement, the attorney general issued a press release announcing the bureau’s investigation on a related case. Footage regarding the related case shows people loading boxes of documents in a vehicle somewhere that “appears to be the lawyer’s office place.”
The prosecutor’s office indicated that the investigation aims to elucidate the facts behind the loading and regarding the content of the boxes, as well as the circumstances of their transfer, in order to establish the legal effect of the depiction.
According to the legal framework for lawyers in Morocco, specifically Article 59 of Decree 101.08.01, “the rule to empty a lawyer’s office can only be implemented after notifying the captain [authority], and taking the necessary measures to ensure the interests of his clients.”
Potential risk for spread of COVID-19
On the night of June 9, the Moroccan government defined the measures of the country’s lockdown exit strategy, dividing the country into two zones based on regional epidemiological situations.
Authorities in Zone 1 are allowing relatively greater resumption of public activities, such as the use of public transport with a capacity of 50% and the reopening of hair and beauty salons and gardens.
The region of Casablanca-Settat is still the hardest hit in Morocco, with 31.98% of the country’s COVID-19 cases. As Casablanca is classified within Zone 2, movement still requires special authorization.
This indicates the protests are a potentially dangerous move as the economic capital attempts to prevent a major outbreak. Additionally, the country has laws in place to prosecute anyone who violates lockdown measures, threatening public safety.
In addition to Casablanca, Zone 2 includes El Hajeb, Fez, Berrechid, El Jadida, Ben Slimane, Larache, Marrakech, Kenitra, Mediouna, Nouaceur, Mohammedia, Rabat, Skhirat-Temara, Sale, and Tangier-Assilah.
On June 19, Morocco confirmed 539 new cases of COVID-19, by far the highest daily number reported since the beginning of its outbreak on March 2. Given the major development, many expect the government may adjust the zone classifications.