The death of a 25-year-old Moroccan activist has sparked a fresh round of protests in Al Hoceima, as well as Rabat, Casablanca and other cities that continued Wednesday night.
Imad El Attabi sustained serious head injuries during July 20 protests in Al Hoceima. The march was planned to demand the release of activists in the Rif region, journalists and others detained during recent months of political unrest. Clashes between protesters and police became violent, with Attabi among dozens who were injured.
He was flown to a military hospital in Rabat for treatment, but died there on Tuesday. News of his death drew supporters of the Al-Hirak al-Shaabi popular movement and activists back into the streets, some demanding an accounting of Attabi’s death and accusing government forces of causing it.
Al Hoceima has been at the center of Morocco’s unrest since the October 28 death of Mouhcine Fikri, the fish market vendor who was crushed to death in a trash truck while trying to salvage his wares after police threw out his market goods.
The ‘hirak’ movement rose in response to his death, and the political, social and economic frustrations that attached to it in a region that’s often felt distanced by Moroccan leaders. The movement gained momentum following the arrest of popular activist Nasser Zafzafi in May, who was taken into custody after interrupting Friday prayers at an Al Hoceima mosque to press for political change.
He remains in custody after failing to receive a hoped-for Throne Day pardon from King Mohammed VI last month.
Image: AMDH Rabat