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Protests grow over police actions in Morocco

The Moroccan government promotes the country as a model for stability in the region, but its failure to calm months of protests could have serious consequences.
Protesters from Rif movement Al-Hirak Al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement" chant during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in Morocco's northern town of Imzouren in the early hours of June 11, 2017. 
Demonstrators have rallied nightly in Al-Hoceima and the nearby town of Imzouren since the arrest of Al-Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi on May 29 and the subsequent arrests of dozens more. / AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA        (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Demonstrations that have rocked Morocco’s northern region of Rif for eight months have worsened of late. With a police crackdown, peaceful protests have turned into violent clashes. Protesters are demanding social and economic justice, fighting what is known as “hogra,” or abuse by police, which deprives citizens of dignity.

The demonstrations started in October at Al-Hoceima, where a fish seller was crushed to death during a dispute with police. He was trying to recover 1,100 pounds of swordfish, caught out of season, that police had confiscated and disposed of in a garbage truck. The man was unable to get out of the truck in time when the compacting mechanism was turned on. Some activists claimed police intentionally ordered the truck driver to turn on the crusher. Authorities deny the allegations.

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