By Khaled Majdoub
Moroccan authorities have banned all protest activity on Friday and Saturday in the restive Al-Hoceima province, according to a statement issued by the provincial authorities.
The move coincides with the first anniversary of a wave of social unrest that has continued to rock Morocco’s northern Al-Rif region.
“The regional authorities in Al-Hoceima have banned all demonstrations in public areas on Oct. 27 and 28, following calls on social media for a fresh wave of street demonstrations,” the statement read.
“Calls by unknown sources from outside the region have been shared on social media in recent days, urging citizens to stage demonstrations [in Al-Hoceima] on Friday and Saturday,” the statement added.
Provincial authorities justified the ban by saying that such calls “generate an atmosphere of tension that negatively
Over the course of the past year, the Al-Rif region -- especially the restive city of Al-Hoceima -- has been rocked by protests by local youth demanding jobs, stepped-up local development and an end to perceived government corruption.
On several occasions, demonstrations have been forcibly dispersed by security forces, leading to a number of injuries -- and at least one death -- among protesters.
The demonstrations first erupted on Oct. 28 of last year, when a fisherman was crushed to death by a garbage truck in Al-Hoceima while protesting attempts by police to confiscate his fish.
Since then, at least 250 people have been arrested for taking part in the demonstrations, dozens of whom remain in police custody.
Earlier this week, Morocco’s Royal Court dismissed four government ministers for failing to implement a regional development program unveiled earlier in response to the protests.