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Morocco Pro-Democracy Protests Resume

After a few months of silence, thousands of Moroccans take to the street and call for greater political reforms.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/20/2011, 12:42 AM

Thousands of Moroccans demonstrated on Sunday for greater political freedoms, as the country’s pro-democracy movement attempted to regain the momentum it lost over the summer, AP reported.

According to the report, at least 3,000 people marched through the streets of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, chanting slogans against government corruption.

Morocco was swept with pro-democracy protests at the beginning of the Arab Spring in February, but unlike in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria, the protests lost momentum.

King Mohammed VI, who remains popular in Morocco, announced in March that his country will revise its constitution for the first time in 15 years.

He appointed a commission to make recommendations for constitutional revisions and said that any plan would be put to a referendum by Moroccan voters and will ensure the prime minister is selected by the majority party in the parliament.

AP reported, however, that activists have said the king’s proposed reforms did not change much and the final authority still rests with the king and his court.

According to the report, during Sunday’s march in Casablanca, activists wearing the masks of three of the king’s top counselors rode backwards on donkeys, shouting: “Head of the army, it’s too much, head of the religion, it’s too much.”

Another 2,000 people also demonstrated in the port city of Tangiers, said AP, where the crowds even chanted for the fall of the regime. In both protests, few police were in evidence.

Morocco is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on Nov. 25. AP noted that while traditionally political parties have been weak and easily manipulated by the royal court, under the new constitution, the party with the largest number of seats in parliament will form the new government, rather than someone chosen by the king.