The February 20 movement was started by a group calling itself Democracy and Freedom Now. Their demands include constitutional reforms, the dissolution of the present parliament, the creation of a temporary transitional government, an independent judiciary, accountability for elected officials, language rights for Berber speakers and the release of all political prisoners. Democracy and Freedom Now was soon joined by a loose coalition of cyber-activists, traditional lefties, Islamists and twenty human rights organizations, including the Moroccan Association of Human Rights and Amnesty Morocco.
In spite of the Moroccan government’s campaign—through its official media, its ministers and its allies—to discredit the February 20 movement, peaceful protests took place today throughout the country. Thousands of protesters gathered simultaneously in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Tetuan, Beni Mellal, Kenitra, Agadir, Marrakech, Essaouira and in other, smaller cities such as Bouarfa, Sefrou, Bejaad and Jerada.
Still, many Moroccans are fully aware that the king’s absolute power — as stipulated in the current constitution — has resulted in an unbalanced model of governance. Parliament’s role is mainly to rubber-stamp royal decrees. Judges routinely hand down prison sentences against independent journalists who dare to even mildly criticize the king. WikiLeaks cables have shown that the Omnium Nord-Africain, a private financial and industrial group in which the king holds a large stake, is involved in nearly every major real estate project in Morocco. And, as a January 2005 cover story by Driss Ksikes and Khalid Trikti in Tel Quel magazine revealed, King Muhammad costs the Moroccan taxpayer $270 million per year, which is more than the queen of England costs the British taxpayer.
Laila Lalami a également consacré un article à Fadoua Laroui, cette jeune mère célibataire qui s’est immolée par le feu. Fadoua Laroui: The Moroccan Mohamed Bouazizi
Last week, Fadoua Laroui, a 25-year old woman, doused herself with gasoline in front of the town hall in Souq Sebt, and lit a match. According to newspaper reports, the local government destroyed the shack in which she lived with her children and later denied her access to replacement social housing because she was a single mother. She died in a Casablanca hospital two days later.
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