Sunday 22 October 2017

Morocco protester in a coma dies

Morocco protester in a coma dies
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)

A protester in a coma after being struck on the head last month in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in northern Morocco died Tuesday of his injuries, officials said.

The neglected northern Rif region of Morocco has been shaken by weeks of protests and violence with demonstrators demanding jobs, development and an end to corruption.

On July 20, Imad Atabi was hit in the head in clashes in the main Rif city of Al-Hoceima, and taken to a military hospital in Rabat after falling into a coma.

At the time the official MAP news agency, quoting the authorities, said Atabi had been wounded by "stone throwing".

The Al-Hoceima prosecutor said he died on Tuesday, and said an investigation was still under way to determine the circumstances that led to his death and who was responsible for it.

The Rif protests erupted last October after a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated for being caught out of season.

Demands for justice later snowballed into a wider social movement named Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, calling for jobs, development and an end to graft.

Leaders of the grassroots movement were arrested at the end of May and the July 20 demonstration was called by Hirak supporters t9o demand their release.

At the end of July, King Mohammed VI pardoned more than 1,000 detainees, including 40 people arrested for taking part in the Rif protests.

However, more than 150 Rif activists, including protest leader Nasser Zefzafi, remain behind bars.

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