A handful of demonstrations took place in Morocco on Sunday 20th February 2011 according to Human Rights Watch. Around 2000 people took part in a march which took a route from Bab al-Had Square and to the Moroccan Parliament on Mohammed V Avenue. There were no reports of arrests.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch said:
“Today, the security forces allowed Moroccan citizens to march peacefully to demand profound changes in how their country is governed.”
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and multi-party system. Women have a guaranteed place in the government and moves to create a more independent judiciary have been made by the leadership. The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has broad powers to appoint ministers, judges and dissolve parliament to rule by decree, though the current King has never utilised the latter power.
Sources in Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir and the Rif mountains, told Human Rights Watch that hundreds of people demonstrated on Sunday and even set fire to a police station in Marrakesh. Witnesses told the NGO that police kept a low profile around the protesters.
According to a representative of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights., a group in Larache in northwest Morocco set fire to a police station, robbed stores and tried to break into banks. In Hoceima, groups of protesters vandalized a stadium, two political party offices and a pair of hotels. Security forces replied with teargas and rubber bullets. There were reports of injuries. In Sefrou, a town in north central Morocco, pro-reform demonstrators reportedly clashed with supporters of the government.
The UK Foreign Office reported looting and vandalism in Tangier, Marrakech and other locations and has advised travellers to follow news reports and remain vigilant.