Moroccan police break up New Year pro-Palestine protest
Moroccan police forces forcefully removed pro-Palestinian BDS activists from a Carrefour store in Casablanca on the eve of New Year, sabotaging the organisation’s latest attempt to pressure the French retail chain to sever connections with Israeli settlements.
As people around the world prepared to celebrate a new year, a dozen Moroccan activists headed to a Carrefour store in Casablanca to demand the end of the partnership of the local LabelVie group with the French supermarket chain.
Carrefour has a strong presence in Israel and BDS activists have previously accused it of complicity with "war crimes committed by the Israeli regime, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people".
In 2022, Carrefour signed a partnership with Electra Consumer Products and its subsidiary Yenot Bitan, both operating within illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Israeli settlers have committed serious human rights abuses against Palestinians, and their settlements restrict Palestinian freedom of movement and access to natural resources.
In Morocco, local firm LabelVie signed a franchise contract with the Carrefour Partenariat International (CPI) group in 2019, opening more than 70 stores around the kingdom.
In Sunday’s sit-in, only around a dozen people showed up holding signs calling for a boycott and drawing attention to Carrefour's links with Israel.
Sione Asidone, head of BDS Maroc and a renowned Moroccan Pro-Palestine activist of Jewish decent, was one of the leaders of the protest.
However, a few minutes in, police forces arrived and physically assaulted the activists, broke their signs, and stopped them from recording the events, according to several protesters.
This is not the first time BDS gatherings have been dispersed in this way.
In June, Police forces violently dispersed BDS members and several local Pro-Palestine groups, causing minor injuries among the protesters in front of a Carrefour store in Casablanca, according to a report by the Moroccan Front Against Normalisation.
Morocco normalised ties with Israel in December 2020 under a controversial deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump.
“Knowing that what we are doing is a form of protest, and it is a right guaranteed to every citizen under the law. we will continue our struggle until we reach the desired demands of our campaign,” insisted BDS Morocco.
ها هو رأس السنة.. والإنسانية حزنانة— hassan bennajeh - حسن بناجح (@h_bennajeh) December 31, 2023
وقفة قنصلية فرنسا بطنجة تتحول إلى مسيرة حاشدة pic.twitter.com/ghe4YMYG2z
Around the North African kingdom, several Moroccans decided to spend New Year’s Eve protesting for a "free Palestine" and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza where Israeli airstrikes have killed nearly 22,000 people since October 7.
“We will not celebrate until Palestine is free,” said Abelwahed, a 49-year-old teacher, who marched in Tangier with hundreds of people sporting keffiyehs and brandishing Palestinian flags.
Various Moroccan cities, such as Rabat and Beni Mellal, witnessed similar demonstrations that proceeded without any intervention from the authorities.
Since the start of the Gaza war, the North African kingdom has witnessed weekly pro-Palestine protests, with a growing number of people joining the rallies.