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Morocco makes more arrests over protests in neglected Rif

Protesters from Rif movement 'Hirak' chant during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in Imzouren, Morocco, June 11, 2017. (AFP photo)
Police in northern Morocco have arrested more people in connection with the social unrest in the neglected Rif region.
An official and an activist said Sunday that a total of four people had been detained in the last 24 hours.
Other activists said six people had been brought to police custody for questioning since Saturday.
An official source confirmed that one of those arrested on Saturday in the port city of al-Hoceima, the hotbed of protests over the past two weeks, was El Mortada Iamrachen, a popular figure of the al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or “Popular Movement”.
The gruesome death of a fishmonger in al-Hoceima in October last year sparked growing protest, with people demanding justice be served for those responsible. The protests then evolved into a wider movement demanding development, an end to corruption and jobs for the Rif.
A fresh round of demonstrations began at the end of May, when government forces arrested al-Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi. Demonstrations have been held each night in al-Hoceima and the nearby town of Imzouren with people demanding the release of Zefzafi and dozens of more activists.
Protests normally begin when people break their fast in the holy month of Ramadan. Reports say families have been forming bands to campaign for the release of their relatives from jail. Many of those behind bars face charges of "undermining internal security".
Local media say the movement has many things in common with protests in Rif and other regions of Morocco in 2011. The protests that year, although smaller in size compared to other Arab countries, forced King Mohamed VI to launch constitutional reforms and relinquish some of his near-absolute control.

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