1000s of Moroccans protest death of fishmonger
Thousands of Moroccans have once again marched throughout the northern port town of al-Hoceima, a week after a local vendor was crushed to death there trying to retrieve swordfish confiscated by the police.
On Saturday, Hoceima residents held a candlelight vigil for Mouhcine Fikri before holding a gathering on the town’s central square in their latest show of anger over the fish seller’s gruesome death.
In late October, Fikri lost his life when he climbed into a garbage truck to take back the fish confiscated and discarded by police. He was crushed when the truck’s compactor was activated.
Ever since, Hoceima as well as the capital, Rabat, have been awash with protests, which came to a head with the massive rally on Saturday. The protesters blame police and authorities for Fikri’s death.
Fikri’s death has been likened to that of a Tunisian vendor in 2010 that touched off the so-called Arab Spring uprisings, which swept over Morocco’s neighbors, unseating dictatorships a year later.
Many of the organizers and advocates of the protests by Fikri’s sympathizers hail from the February 20 movement, which was integral to the organizing of protest marches during the Arab Spring.
More protests are set to be held for Sunday, on the eve of the UN climate talks in Rabat, where world diplomats are to discuss the Paris Agreement aimed at tackling global warming.
The latest wave of anti-government demonstrations are said to be the biggest in Morocco since the 2011 uprisings.
Observers say Fikri’s death is unlikely to lead to a revolution against the royal establishment, but it is putting pressure on the North African country’s leadership.
On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said nearly a dozen people had been taken into custody in connection with the incident.
However, organizers of the rallies and the protesters cast doubt on Rabat’s intention to launch a fair investigation into what exactly happened.