Dutch Moroccans gather in Rotterdam to protest Morocco arrests
Dutch-Moroccans gathered on the Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam on Sunday to protest against human rights violations and injustices in the Moroccan Rif region and for the release of political prisoners. An estimated 2 thousand people from the Netherlands and abroad took part in the protest, Bouchra Banhammou of organizing committee Moshen Fikri Nederland said to NU.nl.
The protesters want to show support for the people's movement in the Rif region. PvdA European Parliamentarian Kati Piri and former parliamentarian Ahmed Marcouch spoke at the event.
For several months people of Northern-Morocco have protested for social justice and against corruption. They want more employment, their own university, better medical facilities and for the area to no longer be a military zone. The face of the movement, Nasser Zefzafi, was arrested on Monday last week. And during the week about 300 other activists were arrested or disappeared, according to Banhammou.
"We want attention for what is happening in the Rif. The world must not look away and politicians must do something about this", Banhammou said to NOS. "Human rights are being violated in Morocco. We hear that from people there."
According to Amnesty Nederland, at least 71 protesters were arrested between 26 and 31 May. "We fear that this wave of arrests is a deliberate attempt to punish these protesters who peacefully express criticism." Heba Morayef, Amnesty's North Africa specialist, said in a statement. "It is essential that the Moroccan authorities respect the right to freedom of expression and gathering. In addition, te authorities must ensure that peaceful protestors are not convicted on fabricated charges."