Thousands rally for democracy in Morocco

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, July 17, 2011 20:30 EDT
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Thousands of demonstrators, including Islamists, held peaceful rallies in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangiers Sunday to demand greater political reforms and social justice in Morocco.

The latest protests were organised by the youth-based February 20 Movement behind months of demonstrations calling for reforms in the Arab world’s oldest reigning monarchy.

In Casablanca’s Sidi Othmane suburb, several thousand protesters shouted slogans to demand “a democratic constitution” and “greater social justice”, AFP reporters witnessed.
Militants of the Islamist Justice and Charity Group, banned but tolerated by the government, were among the group.

Hundreds of pro-government protesters also gathered in Sidi Othmane, waving flags and portraits of King Mohammed VI, chanting: “Long live the King” and singing the national anthem.

The two groups were kept apart by the security forces, out in large numbers.

At the same time, more than 1,000 protesters gathered in the capital Rabat and several thousand in Tangiers.

The protests are inspired by similar movements that have toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and by popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.

They continue despite a referendum in which 98 percent of voters approved reforms proposed by the king, but boycotted by the February 20 Movement, which curbs the monarch’s near-absolute powers.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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