Call for massive protest in Morocco on Sunday

    As Issandr El Amrani at the Arabist explains:

    The video above is part of a viral campaign to encourage people to protest in Morocco on February 20. The call to protest was initially put out by the center-left PSU party, but it is also backed by civil society movements. Many are skeptical that this movement will end up very far: unlike Egypt or Tunisia, Morocco has not been ruled by the same man for over two decades (Muhammad VI became king in 1999).

    But there are similarities with these countries: over the last five years or so, Morocco has regressed after initially showing promise. Freedom of expression is at the lowest since the late 1990s, with independent voices shut out by campaigns of intimidation and libel lawsuits. Political life has been hijacked by a party run by the king’s closest friend. Economic life is being suffocated by the palace, with the king’s economic interests now harming entrepreneurship with its anti-competitive measures. There is also still no new constitution making Morocco into a real constitutional monarchy, with Muhammad VI effectively an absolute ruler. The Makhzen — the state and business elite that runs the country — acts with ever more impunity. Rule of law suffers, notably because people close to the royal family can get away with anything — including, a few years ago, shooting a police officer.

    The Twitter hashtag #Feb20 is already very active and looks to be the place to follow the protests this Sunday.



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