Dozens of Protesters Injured in Moroccan Marches
Thousands of February 20 protesters marched [French] in cities across Morocco Sunday night in the largest protests in months. In Rabat 3,000 young people took [French] to the streets without incident, while riot police in Casablanca reportedly [Arabic] arrested 14 demonstrators and injured dozens more, with some marchers showing signs of serious beatings. The demonstrators shouted slogans denouncing Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and his party, the Justice and Development party (PJD), for failing to combat corruption, as well as the recent sharp rises in the cost of living.
Meanwhile, Morocco’s Minister of Higher Education Lahcen Daoudi called [French] continued free higher education for all “an absurdity” that must be ended. In an interview with L’Economiste, the PJD minister said he will present a reform to have more affluent families contribute more, but did not elaborate on what level of income he considered affluent. Daoudi also acknowledged that the motion will be controversial in what he called a “taboo” subject.
Additionally, police arrested [French] a 22 year-old Moroccan for publishing on his Facebook drawings of the Prophet Mohammad depicted as various animals. The self-proclaimed atheist is also accused of posting comments critical of Islam on Facebook, and for having “questionable” ties to people in living in the Persian Gulf.