Monday 24 July 2017

Morocco PM plans government visits after social unrest

Morocco PM plans government visits after social unrest
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
Morocco PM plans government visits after social unrest

Morocco's government will make a regional tour to examine development projects, Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said Thursday after months of protests shook the northern Rif region.

Media reports said the tour could begin by next week.

It is expected to take in the central Beni Mellal-Khenifra region and "the southern provinces", a reference to Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

Earlier this month, security forces began withdrawing from the restive northern cities of Al-Hoceima and Imzouren after weeks of unrest.

Al-Hoceima, the main port in the neglected Rif, had been rocked by protests since a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck in October as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated for being caught out of season.

Demands for justice and anger over the region's perceived marginalisation snowballed into a grassroots movement centred on Al-Hoceima, but protests also spread to neighbouring cities including Imzouren.

El Othmani said Thursday he was "aware that several regions of the kingdom have not benefited from the development spillovers of recent decades".

He said his government would "strive for equitable development" nationwide.

Some media reports suggested the premier's announcement was aimed at preventing social unrest from spreading.

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