Protests continue to occur in the Rif region. A women's protest in Al-Hoceima was ended by security forces on Saturday, June 3, with police officers encircling hundreds of women demonstrating for increased jobs, healthcare services, and infrastructure in the northern region. On the night of Sunday, June 4, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Al-Hoceima and other towns throughout the Rif region, marking the ninth night of protests calling for the release of Nasser Zefzafi, the leader of the "Popular Movement" organization. Security forces arrested two other leaders, Najib Ahamjik and Silya Ziani, on Monday, June 5. Additional demonstrations are likely in the coming days.
Residents in Imzouren held a demonstration on Friday, June 2, to protest the arrest of Zefzafi. According to media reports, clashes broke out between the protesters and police. Participants threw rocks and trash at the officers, who responded with water cannons and tear gas. Zefzafi is the leader of the "Popular Movement" that emerged in October 2016, and was arrested on May 29 after being accused of "obstructing the freedom of worship." His arrest has caused daily protests in the region, particularly in Al-Hoceima.
This current wave of demonstrations began on May 18, when thousands of protesters took to the streets of Al-Hoceima. Around 40 people had been arrested during anti-government protests in the north. Protests, which sometimes turn violent, are relatively common in Al-Hoceima, known to be a symbol of anti-colonial resistance, which is suffering from difficult economic conditions. In October 2016, violent protests broke out after a fishmonger was killed while trying to prevent his wares from being confiscated by police.
Individuals in Morocco are advised to avoid any form of public demonstration or public gathering and to keep abreast of the general climate.
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