Post-Arab Spring Protesters Jailed for Violence in Morocco
Six people were sentenced by a Moroccan court on Wednesday to prison terms for their part in post-Arab Sping riots last December in the southern city of Marrakesh. Two were jailed for one year each, two were handed 18-month sentences and the remaining pair were jailed for two years, according to AFP.
Dozens of police officers were wounded in the clashes that already sent ten protesters to jail in January, each facing prison terms of up to 30 months. Two teens are among the new inmates with terms of two months apiece. More than 60 people were wounded in the Dec 28 and 29 violence in Marrakesh, including 52 members of government security forces, officials said. The city is one of Morocco’s top tourist destinations.
Constitution reforms introduced by the government in 2011 in hopes of containing the violence triggered by the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings appeared to have helped, officials said, but grassroots protests continue in response to the slow pace of reforms, as well as other issues left undiscussed in public statements by the government.
Berbers have been demonstrating for the release of political prisoners, and demanding more rights in the capital of Rabat, for example. Others demonstrated in front of the Tunisian Embassy earlier this month to protest the killing of secular Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid.
Sharp utility price increases and rising unemployment in a worsening domestic economy, due to a worldwide financial crisis have exacerbated the frustration of the masses. This has led to increased violence, as has happened in other Arab nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, there were some 300,000 Jews in the country, but by the year 2000, fewer than 7,000 remained. Most immigrated to Israel, but many still return each year, often bringing their children to visit with them.