Police arrested 157 people after clashes broke out between them and crowds during Arusha celebrations in Rabat and Casablanca on Saturday evening, August 29, through to the early hours of Sunday morning, August 30. Reports indicate that 30 police officers were injured in the clashes, which saw people burning tyres, stones thrown towards police, and alleged acts of vandalism. The unrest also resulted in material damages to property and cars. It is not clear why the clashes broke out, however, authorities had banned Arusha celebrations in several locations, including Beni Mellal and the coastal region of Safi, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
A heightened security presence is to be expected in the aforementioned locations in the immediate term.
The day of Ashura is marked by Muslims as a whole, but for Shia Muslims it is a major religious commemoration of the martyrdom at Karbala of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
Those in Morocco are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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