Morocco pro-Palestine protest turns into commemoration as Saleh Al-Arouri is assassinated
A crowd of protesters in the capital Rabat learned of Al-Arouri’s assassination just moments before the start of their daily pro-Palestine gathering, a practice they have maintained since the beginning of the Gaza war on 7 October.
The mood turned even more somber with Mohammed Hamdawi, a leading figure of the Justice and Charity Islamist group, facing parliament as he read condolences for the assassinated Hamas deputy deeming him a "martyr of the Palestinian cause".
"His martyrdom will provide a new and a strong start to the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist occupation," the Islamist leader told the crowd.
Arouri was a key political figure in Hamas and living in Beirut's Dahiyeh neighbourhood when he was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday.
After Hamdawi's speech, protesters chanted for Palestinian victory in Gaza and called on the government to cut ties with Israel. Morocco and Israel normalised ties late in 2020.
Rabat has yet to officially comment on Al-Arouri’s assassination.
Since 7 October, Rabat has witnessed hundreds of pro-Palestine protests, with a growing number of members of the public joining the rallies that were traditionally led by activists and political parties.
According to Arabometer, less than one-in-three Moroccans back normalisation with Israel, with the figure even lower elsewhere in the MENA region.
A new survey by a Fes-based group affiliated with the opposition party of Justice and Development suggests that around 90 percent of Moroccan responders stand with Palestinians against Israel and actively support BDS boycott campaigns.
In 2023, Morocco became the fifth country in the world for the most pro-Palestine protests, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a US-based NGO.
Thousands of Moroccans are set to take to the streets on Wednesday to protest the latest Israeli airstrike on Beirut and the ongoing genocide in Gaza.