Morocco: Across the Nation, Demonstration

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

In the broader context of the Arab world, Morocco has one particularly unique feature: Whereas other countries in the region often have two cities of importance (Aleppo and Damascus, Algiers and Oran, Cairo and Alexandria), Morocco has bustling hubs of activity in its four imperial cities: Meknes, Fez, Marrakesh and Rabat, not to mention in its largest city, Casablanca, and the Mediterranean city of Tangier. Today, as protesters step out onto the streets to call for an end to corruption, constitutional reform, and the dissolution of parliament, their strength in numbers is distributed across these cities, as well as in smaller towns.

Rabat, the Capital

From the capital of Rabat, Omar El Hyani has been sharing images from his Twitpic account. The images show hundreds, perhaps thousands, gathered by the walls of the medina.

Photo by Omar El Hyani

A march in the streets of the capital city show Palestinian flags being waved alongside the Moroccan flag:

Palestinian and Moroccan flags are waved in the protest

From the Twitter account of Moroccan news aggregator @mamfakinch (which means “we won't give up”), an update claims at least 10,000 protesters have taken to the Rabat streets:

#Feb20 eyewitness from Rabat: We are now about 10 000 more ppl to come with the reopening of train traffic

Casablanca, the Metropolis

In Morocco's largest city (population 3.2 million), one estimate, from Moroccan forum Yabiladi and posted on Facebook, claims that 9,000 have emerged to take part in demonstrations:

Yabiladi: 13h10, Casablanca : Au moins 9000 manifestants
Selon nos différents reporters sur Casablanca, le nombre des manifestants continuent d’augmenter dans la capitale économique. Au bas mot, ils seraient 9000. Beaucoup comptent y rester toute la journée.
13h00, Fès : 10 000 personnes dans la rue selon les organisateurs.

Yabiladi: 13:10 Casablanca: At least 9,000 protesters
According to our various reporters in Casablanca, the number of protesters continues to increase in the economic capital. At the very least, they are 9,000. Many intend to stay there all day.
13:00, Fez: 10,000 people on the street according to organizers.

Farah Kinani shares a photo from the streets in “Casa”:

The sign reads: oppression + defeat = revolution

Meknes, the Historic

In the smaller city of Meknes (population around 1 million), protests are taking place on the streets of the city's ville nouvelle, also known as Hamriya. On Twitter, @Cherradi writes:

Meknes 20 février, Hameriya ville nouvelle #20fev #20feb

The video in Cherradi's post, put on YouTube by local online paper Hespress, shows around 100 demonstrators in the main area of the city:

One proud Meknassi claims that, despite the low numbers, the noise is still deafening:

Couple of hundred protesters in meknes are louder than any group in the rest of morocco. Meknes ya meknes

(Author note: “Meknes ya Meknes” is like saying “Meknes, oh Meknes”)

It is worth noting that Meknes has a large military presence, which could account for the low turnout.

Fes, the Spiritual Capital

The ancient city of Fes is perhaps better known for its tourism than anything else, though as the home of the university of Al Karouaine, it is also the spiritual core of the country.

In Fes today, despite rain, a few hundred can be seen in photographs posted by Mariam on her blog:

Despite rain, hundreds have turned out in Fes

Tangier, Home of Legend

The legendary city of Tangier is best known to most Westerners through the lens of its long-time resident, the American author Paul Bowles, and for its time as an Interzone. Today, it may go down in the history books for the masses who have taken to the streets. In a photograph posted on Mamfakinch, thousands appear to be marching:

A throng of marchers in Tangier

A video posted on Facebook by Ilyas Fadili shows the size of the crowd as well.

Marrakesh, Al Hoceima, Oujda, and Beyond

In other cities across the country, Moroccans have indeed joined their urban brethren in protest. Moroccan-American writer Laila Lalami points out:

Protests today in Rabat, Casablanca, Oujda, Laarache, Meknes, Beni Mellal, Agadir. Hey, even Berkane! (Sorry, local joke.) #Morocco #Feb20

On Facebook, local website RifToday has been posting photos and video from the Rif Mountain city of Al Hoceima:

From the media committee of the 20th February Movement; Photo Credit: RifToday

From the media committee of the 20th February Movement; Photo Credit: RifToday

In the southern city of Marrakech, arguably one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, some believe the situation to be most dire. On Twitter, @AmoonaE notes:

Incidents reported in #Marrakech, shops destroyed. Situation is more dire there; pop is suffering from the govt estate policy. #Feb20

@Karima_F adds:

#feb20 #morocco Confirmed: peaceful protests in #casa and #Rabat, acts of vandalism in #marrakech

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.


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