Monday, August 1, 2011

Thousands call for reforms in Morocco

A file photo of nationwide protests in Morocco

Source: Press TV

Thousands of protesters have poured into the streets across Morocco, demanding better living conditions and social justice.

About 4,000 people protested in the country's biggest city Casablanca and about 5,000 in the northern city of Tangier on Sunday, local government officials said, Reuters reported.

The protesters also demanded that the power of the North African country's King Mohammed VI be further curbed.

Also in the capital Rabat, hundreds of protesters chanted slogans against King Mohammed, calling for a "change that marks a break with the past.”

The demonstrations coincided with the ceremony of allegiance with the king, where hundreds of regional representatives pledged their allegiance to the Moroccan monarch.

The protesters also challenged the newly amended constitution, arguing that the reforms proposed by the king don't go far enough.

Based on the draft of the new constitution that has been announced by the king -- and amended by a special committee chosen by the king himself -- more power has been given to the country's prime minister and the parliament.

Moreover, under the new constitution, the king, who has a “spiritual” position, is allowed to interfere in selecting ministers, military commanders, and other national figures.

The Sunday rallies came a day after King Mohammed called for speedy parliamentary elections, saying, “A new head of government can be named from the party which comes first."

"This protest is not meant to be a response to the allegiance ceremony. It is our response to the overall political climate in the country," said activist Mohamed al-Aouni.

Inspired by popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, tens of thousands of Moroccans have been taking part in protests in Casablanca, Rabat and other Moroccan towns since February 20, calling for political and social reforms.

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