A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Police Brutality and the Feb 20 Protests

Horrific images have been surfacing from last night's Feb 20 protests in Casablanca, Rabat and El Jadida. Thousands took the streets demanding greater social justice and to condemn widespread corruption. The demonstrations were violently repressed by the police resulting in 14 injuries. This continues a state pattern of violence against peaceful protests. Despite the new constitution and the elections of the Islamist PJD which pledged human rights and dignity for all, the forces of order do no hesitate to use the baton to quell social protestations of increasingly tougher socio-economic indicators. Poverty rate exceeds 20% and unemployment exceeds 30% among people under 34 years-old. These are made worse by this year's chronic drought, drop in tourism, and economic recession in Europe (Morocco's leading trade partner).

The PJD government already launched controversial fiscal reforms as it took on the state's subsidy system in an attempt to bridge the gap between the rich and poor. The Benkirane government also unveiled a 20% increase in fuel prices, which angered many in the streets, already reeling from high levels of inflation and increased cost of living. The latest protests are about the recent government decisions, and the perceived lack of movement towards meaningful socio-economic and political reforms in the country as a whole. The demonstrations are only the first of many that the Feb 20 movement has promised over the month of Ramadan. Last night's police brutality will only make it difficult to contain the public sense of frustration with the Makhzen and its structures of social pacification.

The regime, since it is the one that holds all keys to power and not the PJD government, cannot continue on this dual policy of promoting fictitious reforms, and oppressing individual liberties at the same time. This only serves to undermine the current Islamist government hailed as a historic landmark in modern political history of Morocco. More importantly, it gradually erodes the regime's legitimacy especially as it is increasingly seen as an agent of immobilism and paralysis.

Photos from El Jadida (all photos are courtesy of Mamfakinch)

Video from the protests in Rabat.


Ali said...
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sbandi said...

The violence against people demostrating is not in spite of election of PJD but perfectly coherent as this party is approving a law justifyng every crime committed by military forces if in their use by government. So this violences could be passed as loyal in the near future thanks to PJD.

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