Morocco: the Spring of berber

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The king of Morocco Mohammed VI, in 2014

February 20, 2011 is part of the collective memory of morocco. The previous month, the two countries further to the east, the young merchant tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi was sacrificing himself by the fire and became, without knowing it, the symbol of the arab spring. The youth of a pan the other to the North Africa is on fire, crying out his despair to the social and economic elite disconnected from it. This date will mark for Morocco, renowned for his skillful maintenance of a relative stability, the largest protest movement in its modern history.

Iron fist in a velvet glove, the parliamentary monarchy moroccan has quickly restore calm, and repressing the revolt and promised parliamentary reforms and social. Life has so quickly resumed his course to the kingdom of Morocco and the promises remained a dead letter.

Last October, however, in circumstances that are not dissimilar to those of 2011, the story of a young merchant of Al-Hoceïma sown anger in the region’s berber of the Rif. Mouhcine Fikri dies crushed in a garbage truck as he tries to recover his goods confiscated by the police. The moroccan regime tries to appease the grumbling Rifains with a survey, 11 charges, trial fast and 8 convictions in the case of Fikri.
The fate of the young merchant, however, is only a symptom of a larger problem; it is part of the failure of the “February 20”, and revives the other hand, the litigation history between the Berbers and Rabat. The capital is accused of neglecting the peripheries badly in need of infrastructure, jobs and social services.

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In may, Rabat promises of development projects in the Rif. However, as summarized brilliantly in an interview with France 24, Aboubakr Jamai, French professor of international relations, these promises are “a rifle with a cartridge that has already been drawn”.

On the 26th of may, in his Friday sermons, the imam complains that the leaders of the protest movement, the Hirak, to sow discord among the muslims. Nasser Zefzafi, who directs the Hirak, interrupts the imam, takes the microphone and dispute the charges. It asks in particular if the mosques are made to God or to represent the authority. His speech is broadcast live on Facebook and widely relayed on the social networks.

Two days later, Nasser Zefzafi is arrested and imprisoned. Rather than falter, her movement takes on a national dimension. By the tens of thousands, the Moroccans tread the streets of Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier, a not-protest in solidarity with the Rif. The protesters surrounded by the police and the army, chant of new slogans of 2011.

The repression continues and 130 persons are imprisoned for their participation in the Hirak, while king Mohammed VI is said to be sensitive to the cause rifaine. If a dialogue is not established quickly between the people and the power, it is feared, however, that the revolt of Al-Hoceïma, city qualified for the king of the “lighthouse of the Mediterranean”, is reborn out of the ashes of the “20th of February”.