Renewed clashes were reported in the northern province of Al-Hoceima between protesters and security forces on Monday, June 26, one day after King Mohammed VI expressed his disappointment with the delays in the government development program in the Rif region. During a gathering on Monday, June 26 to celebrate the end of Ramadan, security forces blocked access to the city of Al-Hoceima and used force to disperse protesters. Many were injured and arrested, especially in the city of Ajdir.
Clashes of this sort are common in the northern Rif region of Morocco.
This current wave of demonstrations began on May 18, when thousands of protesters took to the streets of Al-Hoceima in anti-government protests. Over 100 people have been arrested during anti-government protests in the north since mid-May, including the "Popular Movement" leader Nasser Zefzafi.
Protests, which sometimes turn violent, are relatively common in Al-Hoceima. The northern city was the epicenter of the Arab Spring protests in February 2011 and is suffering from poor economic conditions. In October 2016, violent protests broke out after a fishmonger was killed while trying to prevent his fish from being confiscated by police. The protests transformed into the "Popular Movement", a broader social movement demanding more jobs, regional development, and a harsher stance on corruption from the government.
The government responded by restarting a previous USD 665 million (6.5 billion Moroccan dirhams) government development program from 2015 to improve the health facilities, education system, and infrastructure in the Rif region by 2019.
Individuals in Morocco are advised to avoid any form of public demonstration or gathering, and to remain informed on the situation.