Anti-Israel protesters Rabat, Morocco (archive)
Anti-Israel protesters Rabat, Morocco (archive)Reuters

Moroccan authorities on Monday prevented a protest in the capital Rabat against the kingdom’s move to normalize ties with Israel, Reuters reported.

A heavy police presence backed by water cannons and anti-riot forces deployed in the main avenue leading to Parliament square, where a group of pro-Palestinian rights organizations had planned the protest.

Police prevented demonstrators from reaching the square, according to Reuters. Two prominent activists, including the Morocco coordinator for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement were escorted away by authorities and asked to leave the area.

A local authority source said the protest was not authorized, citing a COVID-19 emergency decree.

Morocco last week became the fourth Arab state this year, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, to announce it had agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

US President Donald Trump in turn recognized Morocco’s sovereignty in Western Sahara.

While the main political parties in Morocco have welcomed the deal with Israel and the US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty, Islamist groups have rejected it.

On Saturday, the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemned the deal, saying it "contradicts with the Moroccan people’s support for the Palestinian people."

The Doha-based group said Israel still "occupies our Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, our blessed lands [in Palestine] and the Golan Heights of Syria, and still looks to swallow more."

The Morocco-Israel agreement was also condemned by the Hamas terrorist organization, which called it a "political mistake that does not serve the Palestinian issue and will encourage the occupation to continue to deny our people's rights."