MOROCCO–the Danger of Backsliding Into Chaos

MOROCCO: DANGER OF SLIPPAGE

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Washington / Morocco Board News–   The next Protests by the Feb-20th Youth Group are supposed to be held next Sunday, June 5, Across the country. The group is calling the “citizens to protest against repression” and “to demand democratic reforms”. The protests will take place two weeks before the advisory committee, appointed last March by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, to provide proposals for a constitutional reform.

The Feb-20 Group is calling “all democratic forces […]of citizens to participate massively in the peaceful demonstrations on Sunday, June 5th, everywhere in Morocco, and even in some Western countries… ” Several political parties, trade unions and NGOs are supporting the demonstrators who are protesting against , among other things, “the repression of peaceful demonstrations that have become routine […] and to continue to support legitimate democratic demands of the Feb-20th Group” said a press release.

Fear of further slippage

Although peaceful, the protests could lead to violent excesses by over reaching demonstrators, or over zealous law enforcement forces. Last Monday,  the European Commission expressed its concern over violence against  demonstrators, during Sunday protests in Casablanca and Tangier, in particular. “We are concerned by the violence that has been used during demonstrators in Morocco, this weekend” said Natasha Butler, spokesman for the European Neighborhood Policy.

Following a suspicious bombing in Marrakech that killed several tourists and locals, the government has shown an ever increasing hard line policy against dissent. An editor of the largest daily has been jailed and accused of various offenses, the demonstrators are systematically chased and clubbed. The government spokesman said that the Islamists and leftists are piggybacking on the current wave of protests and using it for their own purposes and hurting the country’ economy.

There is an ever increasing danger of serious slippage with the current policy of repression. It may provide a fortuitous spark to radicalize the majority of protesters who are, so far, calling for democratic reforms and not an end to the regime as in Libya and Syria.
Last week’s reports have shown officers clubbing a woman holding a child. Such scenes showcase how easy it is for events to go out of control and for a seminal and powerful scene to happen and to be instantly transmitted for everyone, which will lead to an increased radicalization, and a larger dissent among the public.
Recent development in neighboring countries have shown that increased repression often leads to bigger opposition because the wall of fear has crumbled across the region.