Moroccan riot police 'violently' disperse women's Rif protest

Moroccan riot police 'violently' disperse women's Rif protest
Videos emerged on social media showing women being violently dispersed while protesting against the arrest of popular opposition leader Nasser Zefzafi in al-Hoceima on Saturday.
2 min read
05 June, 2017
Riot police dispersing protests in al-Hoceima [Getty]

In its latest surge of violence against protestors in the northern Rif region, Moroccan authorities stifled a women's protest in the coastal city of al-Hoceima on Saturday evening.

Videos emerged on social media showing women of all ages protesting against the arrest of popular opposition leader Nasser Zefzafi, as they chanting for justice and dignity on the ninth consecutive night of protests in al-Hoceima.

The police surrounded the women as they chanted "with life, with blood, we'll redeem you Nasser".

Security forces later began restraining and detaining women in an attempt to disperse the protestors.

The authorities had then pushed one of al-Hirak's leaders, Nawal Ben Aissa away from the protest, according to a Reuters report.

The protests in the Berber dominated Rif region can be traced back to October 2016 when Mouhcine Fikri, a fishmonger in al-Hoceima tried to prevent government backed city authorities from destroying his merchandise - swordfish that were banned during the season.

The 31-year-old was crushed as he was run over by a rubbish truck while protesting. A photo of him circulated on social networks, showing him dead, his head and his arm surpassing the compacting mechanism.

The Rif region began to instigate calls for justice for Fikri, in a movement which quickly evolved into grassroots calls demanding jobs and economic development.

Nasser Zefzafi soon emerged as the leader of the al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or the "Popular Movement".

Since Zefzafi's arrest, two women, Nawal Ben Aissa and Cilia Ziani, have emerged as leaders of the al-Hirak movement.