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Morocco: In Marrakech, Destruction Amidst Peaceful Protest

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Morocco, Governance, Politics, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011 [1].

Across Morocco, peaceful protests have emerged [2] today, with thousands taking to the streets from Tangier to Fes. In the southern city of Marrakech, however, reports that the protests have turned into chaos emerged this afternoon, with claims of vandalism and attempts by protesters to storm police headquarters.

A video of somewhat shaky quality claims to show protesters storming the city's police station earlier today:

On Twitter, Aatif Zouadi (@Zaotheflasher [3]) expresses shame [3] for what has happened in Marrakech:

manifestants de merde à marrakech c'est vraiment honteux ce qu'ils ont fait #20 #fevrier

Shitty protesters in Marrakesh – it's a shame what they did #20 #fevrier


Image from @NajlaeBB

According to @moun7arifa [5], the protesters and the thugs are separate parties:

@jilliancyork @Hisham_G @afrinomad some thugs vandalized while le march was heading towards Jamaa Lfna

(Author note: Jamaa Lfna or Djemaa Al Fna is the main square of Marrakech)

Nevertheless, the destruction is real. As @Feryate tweeted [6]:

هاجم المتظاهرون مقر ولاية مراكش، وأغرقوها بسيل من الحجارة ، كما تم تبادل الرمي بالحجارة بينهم وبين القوات المساعدة ورجال الأمن #20feb
The protesters attacked the headquarters of Marrakech's governorate and drowned it with stones. They also exchanged throwing stones with the supporting forces and the security forces

Assia Hankoussi (@soulisou [7]) writes on the extent of the destruction in Marrakech:

URGENT : Bd Mohamed 5 et Guélliz detruit à marrakech !!! café , mc do , zara, café charlot … tout est détruit !

URGENT: Boulevard Mohammed 5 and Gueliz in Marrakech have been destroyed! Cafe, McDonald's, Zara, and Cafe Charlot, all destroyed!

Soukaïna Rafi (@SoukainiRafi [8]) shares a photo, saying:

Putain c'est le bordel à Marrakech. http://bit.ly/iahnff #feb20

Damn, it's a mess in Marrakech.


But @Hisham_G tempers the comments, saying [10]:

Ongoing clashes btween police and a handful of what my contacts in Marrakech called “thugs unrelated to marchers. Minor incidents” #feb20

On the blog Sud34.com, which covers southern Morocco, videos have been posted [11] showing demonstrations in Marrakech. One shows the protests as peaceful, indicating that the destruction was likely caused by thugs who were not amidst the main protests:

This post is part of our special coverage on Morocco Protests 2011 [1].