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Morocco: Casablanca Protest Draws Thousands

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

Protests in Casablanca's Mohammed V square today drew thousands of Moroccans, as evidenced by the many photos and videos being posted online. Participants in the demonstration are demanding government reform and an end to corruption.

On Twitter, @mounirbensalah shares a photograph from Casablanca, showing a sea of men and women demonstrating outside of the Palais de Justice in the city's main square, Mohammed V. The building in the photo is the government finance office.

Protesters in Casablanca's Place Mohammed V

In this first video, the protests are led by a singer who, using a tune by Moroccan group Nas El Ghiwane (editor's note: we previously and incorrectly stated the musical group to be Hoba Hoba Spirit), mocks Qaddafi while making allusions to Morocco's ruler. He sings: “we are you taking us/leading us brother/are you leading us to Saudia?/I've been receiving one hit after the other/Sarkozy won't welcome me/Obama won't welcome me…”

In this video, protesters applaud in unison:

This video, taken from afar, manages to capture the sheer size of the demonstration:

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

9 comments

  • are there any reports on the how many participants? From the videos it seems there are may be a couple thousand people? certainly not in the tens of thousands…

  • omar ben

    LOL they making fun of Kaddafi PERIOD they were not making allusion to Morocco’s ruler, OMG OMG OMG i LOVE how authors switch stories!!!! This is becoming hillarious. How about you report what you see and try not to guess?

  • Adil

    This is very small protest. Morocco is a free country unlike Egypt under Mubarak or Tunisia under Ben ALi. People protest all year round to express their democratic rights. It is always annoying to see foreigners who do not know anything about our country or even speak the language, talk about Morocco as if they were experts. I just wish Edward Said’s book orientalism is required reading at every school in every western country. May be only then people will start to question their assumptions and construct a more accurate view of our society.

    • Adil,

      I’m sorry, but what exactly do you take issue with? The only matter of possible interpretation here is what the protest is about. That said, I lived in your country, speak its language, and have read Orientalism. I’ve seen hundreds of protests. What’s the problem here?

    • Manus McManus

      I do know a lot about my country and let me tell you, living the rethoric and the demagoguery aside, Morocco is not a free country by any means or standards. It is an authocratic Kleptocracy, no more, no less. Do not fool yourself, people in the West are very capable to differentiate between a dictatorship and a democracy. If you are not sure read chapter 2 of the Moroccan constitution and you will find out.

  • Amine

    @omar

    The author is not “guessing” anything as you put it. The subtext is subtle yet very clear for all Moroccans. If you don’t get it, then either you are not Moroccan or one of those Moroccans living in the state run propaganda bubble. Also if he was referring to Gaddafi alone why would he put the Gaddafi turban later when the song was over. So clearly the song was referring to somebody else.

    @Adil

    Yes Morocco is a free country where protests get brutally dispersed. Check out all the videos taken by protesters on march 6th throughout this “free” country.

  • […] Protests for government reform and against corruption in Casablanca’s Mohammed V square drew thousands of Moroccans on Sunday. […]

  • Kawn

    I am not sure what these folks are arguing about…Morocco, we know the drill, I was born and grew up there, cops prosecute you for being with a young girl on the street out of spite under the pretext of enforcing the law…”morocco unlike egypt is a free country” what are you Amine? high on something? whatever it is you need to get off that drug immediately.

    I can’t believe Moroccans argue that the day and night rotate everyday…things are obvious. Now again, I must nuance, if Amine’s notion of liberty is different from the universal standard, then he may truly believe that morocco is free. Think how many people have ugly stuff and think it’s beautiful.

    Jillian York, you don’t need to have read Orientalism or speak the language to see what’s going, what you say is true, the guy singing can’t be referring to the king directly. Come on it’s a police state, he has to nuance, even if he says “this is about gaddafi” we know it’s just a way to avoid prosecution.

    Finally, Ms. York, Orientalism and other studies of the middle east is almost irrelevant and useless. You more than anyone else should know, which study predicted Tunisia will go into flames? which book or other Expert (as americans like to call them) predicted what is happening now? they even made lovely deals with Gaddafi & Muabrak, they never expected things will go the way they did. In sum, your books, your studies are a good start to get to know some place or people but it does not make you an expert or even a knowledgeable person of the region. I lived in the US for about 7 years now, I went to law school here and studied the ideals of the constitution and the law in the US…I thought Americans abide by the law and Americans are men of word who get deals done on a hand shake, then I see what happened to the collective bargaining in Wisconsin and Michigan. I thought I understood America and its legal system, but now it seems like there is always new stuff. Bottom line is books, studies etc wont do it. Not even being somewhere, it’s different people, different circumstances, and trust me, American experts are always wise after the fact…they get deep in their analysis and stuff, but they never tell us that stuff before hand.

    My conclusion is you can say what you think, you don’t have to be an expert, you don’t need to lay out your credentials…You know, these days with the rapid happening of events, experts’ opinions is as good as the guy sitting in Cafe Nahda in Beni-Mellal (lost town in Morocco where I’m from).

    Keep up the good work.

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