Below is a gathering of news and analyses articles on al-Hirak written between the martyring of Mohasin Fikri on the 28th October 2016, and the enormous and enormously repressed protest in the same city, al-Hoceima, nearly nine months later, on the 20th July this year.
That the various forces arraigned in the Rif and Morocco have changed together over that time will be only more obvious after reading the first then the last article here – but what exactly those changes are, and what they might themselves change into, is still rather unclear. Of course: الحراك الشعبي, the Popular Movement, is still itself moving, having been begun in winter, then grown through spring and summer. It’s nearly a year now.
The post following this one will cover the period including and after the 20th of July, and will be shorter, and more relying on Facebook posts, Tweets, and photographs. This will be partly in the hope that the ‘social’ in ‘social media’ is roughly the same as the ‘social’ in ‘social history’, and partly since more repressive states appear to produce far better ‘citizen journalists’ than they do salaried ones.
Translating Arabic and asking permission to use Facebook posts and cropping photos takes a little time, and the more I’ve collected, the more that’s seemed missing.
Please report deadlinks, mis- or missing translations, and, more than those two, recommend articles, events, processes, et cetera, that I’ve missed.
Friday 28th October
– Mohasin Fikri (محسن فكري) killed by police in al-Hoceima
– See ‘An interview with an al-Hiral activist (Part One)’ on this blog for an explanation of the ‘two versions of his killing’ (June 18th, in English)
Saturday 29th October
– Al-Yaoum’s report on the killing of Fikri and subsequent protests in al-Hoceima (in Arabic)
Sunday 30th October
– Al-Araby’s report on the killing of Fikri and subsequent protests in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier (in English)
– Official state news organisation MAP reports that ‘The Interior Minister informed Mouhcine Fikri’s family of the High Royal Instructions for conducting a careful and thorough investigation and bringing charges against whoever held responsible in this incident’ (in English)
– New York Times’ report on the killing and protests (in English)
Monday 31st October
– Essay titled ‘”It could happen to any of us”: Why the revolution in Morocco has started’ in Middle East Eye (in English)
– Report from The Guardian mentioning recent elections and regional aspects of protests (in English)
Tuesday 1st November
– ‘Eleven people have been arrested in Morocco after a fish-seller was crushed to death in a refuse truck prompting days of large-scale protests. The public prosecutor said they were accused of involuntary manslaughter and forgery of public documents’ – BBC (in English)
– ‘And while events outside of Morocco have certainly curbed calls for radical change, without a royal commitment to a fundamental change in the kingdom’s operation, the monarch may unwittingly be making it the only option remaining’ (Middle East Eye, in English).
– NPR’s report on the protests (in English)
– Al-Hirak protests in al-Hoceima, with activists moving across Rif, speaking with people.
– ‘After Mohasin Fikri was martyred, we started the protests in al-Hoceima and Imzouren. For the first six weeks we did weekly marches (…) We continued our peaceful protests. The authorities kept watching us, and began trying to close public squares. So, we invented something called ‘chen-ten’; it’s Rifain Tamazight slang word for ‘sudden speed’ (…) (‘An Interview with Hirak activist Yassmin B’, this blog, in English, July 6th)
– ‘Nasser al-Zafzafi and his friends, other activists, went across the small towns, talking to people, discussing their problems’ (‘An interview with an al-Hirak activist [Part One]’, this blog, in English, June 18th)
Friday 2nd December
– ‘A month has passed since the incident, but protests are still ongoing in the city. While investigations seem to be at a standstill, protesters in al-Hoceima continued their action against the authorities, end of last week’ (Opendemocracy.net, in English)
Thursday 5th January
– A protest the night previous in al-Hoceima repressed by police, as the highly admirable Rif24 report (in Arabic)
Sunday 15th January
– A version of al-Hirak’s demands released by Rif24.com (in Arabic; translation into English of later version of demands coming)
Sunday 5th February
– Protest in al-Hoceima commemorating the 54th anniversary of Muhamad ‘abd al-Karim al-Khattabi’s (محمد عبد الكريم الخطابي)death is repressed by police; see ‘Morocco: the Rif, History of a Rebellious Region’, Jeune afrique, 9th February (in French)
Thursday 5th April
– King Mohammed VI names his 39-member government, with PJD number two Saad-Eddine al-Othmani having found a 240 majority (of 395 Representatives) from five parties, after his selection as Prime Minister on the 17th March 2017.
– Le monde judge that PJD were ‘marginalised’ by King’s selection (in French)
Thursday 18th May
– ‘An unprecedentedly big protest doubled with a general strike’ in al-Hoceima; Chowqui Lofti for France-based media part blog, 3rd of June (in French). A terrific article.
– Short article from al-Mounadil/a (Moroccan revolutionary socialist group [4th International]) on the Rif, al-Hirak, and the state’s ‘need to pay back a huge public debt by reinforcing austerity on social budgets, opening up profitable sectors of our country to foreign capital (…)’ (in English / French)
Monday 22nd May
– ‘Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit led a large government delegation on a visit to Al-Hoceima on Monday, the latest trip to the region to promise projects to boost the local economy.’ (Al-Jazeera, Saturday 27th May, [in English])
– ‘A truce of sorts had been negotiated in mid-May, when a ministerial delegation arrived in the city of Al Hoceima promising various development projects’; Hicham Aidi, July 13th, thenation.com (in English)
Tuesday 23rd May
– Le desk.ma’s short report on Monday’s delegation; it also reports on plans for a ‘une marche du million’ for the 21st July (in French) (see July 20th below)
- ‘I think the demonstration scheduled for the 20th of July will be the biggest in the Rif. It was called before the arrests in late May. Now that the leaders are arrested, it’s the only way to fight against the injustice of their arrests’: ‘Moving How? An interview with an al-Hirak activist: Part Two’, this blog, in English, June 26th)
Friday 26th May
– Nasser al-Zafzafi interrupts imam of the Mohamed V mosque in al-Hoceima whilst delivering a sermon titled ‘Security is a Blessing’; al-Zafzafi asked ‘what does fitna [‘chaos’] mean when our young people have little to eat?’ and ‘whom do mosques belong to? God or the government?’. ‘(T)he imam never completed his khutba. Zafzafi gave his own sermon to a crowd gathered outside the mosque’ (Hicham Aldi, The Nation, July 13th [in English])
- Le desk.ma allege that the Minister of Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq ‘poured oil on the flames’ by having imams in al-Hoceima preach against the protest (in French)
- No English or French translation of al-Zafzafi’s Arabic/Tarafit interruption available (video from Ariffino Net Nador here)
- Arrest warrant issued against al-Zafzafi by King’s prosecutor in al-Hoceima for, amongst other charges, ‘obstructing freedom of religion’ (‘d’actes d’entrave à la liberté de religion’)
- Photo of warrant in Arabic from Tel Quel (in French)
- Minister of Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq claims al-Zafzafi arrested. Video shared by le Desk of al-Zafzafi evading arrest on rooftop (since removed)
– See al-Jazeera’s Saturday 27th report [in English]
– Youtube channel Rif Sat upload video of al-Zafzafi addressing crowd (in Arabic / Rifia; no French / English translation available).
– Le 360 (pro-regime news site) compares al-Zafzafi to Aboubakr al-Baghdadi (In French)
– Reuter’s report (in English)
Saturday 27th May
– First day of Ramadan.
– Protests in al-Hoceima; water cannons used according to le 360 (in French)
– le 360 report that the royal prosecutor (‘procureur général du roi’) claims that ‘the primary stages of the inquiry have revealed that the persons implicated in the affair have benefited from money transfers from abroad (…)’ (‘Les premiers élèments de l’enquête ont révélé que les personnes impliquées dans cette affaire ont bénéficié de transferts d’argent depuis l’étranger’[…]) (in French)
– Al-Jazeera writes that ‘Zefzafi’s whereabouts on Saturday were unclear’ (in English).
– ‘Why is the state arresting the activists of al-Hoceima?’: al-Mounadil/a article on the state’s use of mosques to ‘platform it’s speech and criminalise activists’ (in Arabic)
Sunday 28th May
– ‘Morocco: Against the repression of the palace, the Rif promises to protest every night’; report from MiddleEastEye.net (in French) (Details disparity between official and activists’ count of arrests, and the ‘financement étranger’ controversy)
– Yabiladi.com report that Ali Belmedziane, president of the al-Hoceima section of Association marocaine des droits humains (AMDH, the largest non-co-opted human rights organisation in Morocco) claims the number of arrests as 37, against the official figure of 20 (in French)
– Dalil-Rif.com allege that demonstrators use ‘القنينات الزجاجية’ (‘glass bottles’) (in Arabic); yabiladi.com allege the use of ‘Molotov cocktails’, seemingly misquoting the Dalil-Rif.com report.
– Solidarity protests in Sunday evening Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Marrakech (France-based l’humanité, Tuesday 30th May [in French])
Monday 29th May
– Amongst others, Nasser Al-Zafzafi arrested
– Oujdacity.net describe Zafzafi as ‘un fervent adepte de DAESH’ (in French)
Tuesday 30th May
– BBC report that ‘(a)ccording to AFP news agency, protesters chanting “We are all Zefzafi” filled streets in Al-Hoceima on Tuesday evening and riot police were deployed in a square to stop their advance’ (In English)
– Le monde quote Faissal Aoussar, member of al-Hoceima section of AMDH (see above), saying that ‘(l)e centre d’Al-Hoceima est bouclé par la police pour empêcher toute manifestation. Dans toute la région, des maisons sont fouillées, des jeunes militants kidnappés’ (in French).
Wednesday 31st May
– Article by France-based le express on the Rif and al-Hirak. Interesting for mentioning ‘the informal sector’, and for quote from Igancio Cembrere (Spanish journalist, well-known in Morocco) that ‘whilst conservative, the Rif is one of the least Islamist in the country’ (in French)
Thursday 1st June
– Le desk report a call by Nabil Ahamjik, ‘n°2 du hirak à Al Hoceima’ for three day strike across the Rif region (In French).
– Prominent activist Nawal Benaissa ( نوال بنعيسى ) ‘called in to the police station in al-Hoceima’ according to France 24’s 2nd June report (in English)
– Benaissa described as ‘the 36-year-old successor to leading activist, Nasser Zafzafi’ by Morocco World News on June 3rd (in English)
– France 24’s video ‘Morocco: the Rif is Rebelling’ gives sense of size of crowds (in French)
Friday 2nd June
– ‘This three-day strike is the result of what is happening here, the marginalisation of a region that is only asking for its daily bread’, report France 24 (in English)
– 17-minutes BBC Arabic video report on al-Hirak involving an interview with Nawal Benaissa, who emphasises the rights-based claims and pacifism of Hirak. After dismissing the government through reference to the 22nd May delegation, Benaissa claims that ‘Rifians are waiting for the entry of the highest authority in the country’ (i.e., King Mohamed VI) (in Arabic).
– Report by le monde afrique on Nawal Benaissa (in French)
– Report by Amnesty International titled ‘Morocco: Rif protestors punished with wave of mass arrests’ (In English).
– ‘Between 26 and 31 May 2017, security forces arrested at least 71 people following protests in Al Hoceima and the neighbouring towns of Imzouren and Beni Bouayach.’
– ‘At least 33 people are now on trial after being charged by the Crown Prosecutor in Al Hoceima. The charges against them include assaulting and insulting public officers, stone-throwing, rebellion and unauthorized gathering.’
– Details of torture of detainees, extraction of false confessions, police’s failure to notify detainees’ families / lawyers of arrest.
– Short report by Reuter’s (in English)
Saturday 3rd June
– Report from Euronews.com: ‘Morocco: the contest in the Rif hasn’t weakened’ (‘ne faiblit pas’) (In French)
– Analysis (in French) by Chawqui Lofti for France-based media part on:
- Hirak’s demands
- The ‘massive rejection of traditional institutions’; ‘parties, unions, civil society, elected officials’ [élus]’
- Hirak’s ‘structures d’auto-organisation’ versus the regime’s ‘incapacité de vendre l’illusion d’un semblant d’auto-reforme’
- ‘The next weeks will be determinative for the relaunch of revolutionary processes and confronation against the monarchy’ (‘Les prochaines semaines seront déterminantes pour la relance du processus révolutionnaire et l’affrontement avec la monarchie’)
– Analysis from almounadila.info on the political and political-economic history of the Rif; mentions the civil war between 1956-1958, the 1984 protests, the 2011 protests; the role of the IMF, public debt, and austerity; and the immanent importance of trade unions (In Arabic).
Sunday 4th June
– Opinion piece from Kenza Oumlil for al-Jazeera on the relations between the 2011-2012 ‘February 20th Movement’ and al-Hirak (in English)
- On the state’s and political parties’ various reaction to al-Hirak
– Defence of al-Zafzafi’s interruption (‘many believe that by stating that religion should not be used for political ends, Zefzafi was actually trying to protect the sanctity of the mosque as a place of worship.
– Criticism of al-Zafzafi’s gender politics (‘even using language that implies men’s “ownership” of women’)
– ‘The February 20th movement may have lost its momentum in recent years, but its legacy is still alive in terms of organising tactics and aspirations.’
– Al-Jazeera report that ‘Moroccan authorities stifled a women’s protest in the coastal city of Al-Hoceima, campaigning for access to jobs, health services and infrastructure in the northern Rif region.’ (In English)
Monday 5th June
– Lakome2.com report on (in Arabic):
– Head of government summoned parliamentarians of Rif province to meeting earlier that day.
– Sunday night demonstrations in Asfi, Luxor al-Kabir, and Rabat.
– Report on protests in al-Hoceima
– Tel quel report the arrest of Nabil Ahamjik (see above) and Silya Ziani, singer and spokesperson for al-Hirak (in French)
– Ziana quoted as saying that, after the ‘mort’ (tl’s choice of word) of Mohasin Fikri, ‘I did not have the choice, it had to happen’ (‘il faut que ça marche’)
Tuesday 6th June
Tel quel report that Nasser al-Zafzafi, Fahim Ghattass, Ahmed Hezzar, Hannoudi El Habibi, Chakil Makhrouate, Mohamed El Mahdani and Mohamed Haki are charged with numerous crimes including (inter alia)‘attacking the internal security of the state (…)’(in French)
Thursday 8th June
– Le desk report that regime repression has meant ‘un sentiment de crainte a gagné les esprits’ ; repression has scared activists (in French).
Saturday 10th June
– El Mortada Iamrachen arrested, le desk report (in French)
– See le desk’s 21st June report for analysis (in French)
Sunday 11th June
– Huge protest in Rabat in support of Hirak. Radical left, liberal left, al-Adl wa-l-Ihsan (جماعة العدل و الإحسان), and Amazigh emancipation groups present.
– Report from Middle East Eye (in English)
– Report from Reuter’s (‘Led by Islamists, thousands of Moroccans rally in support of northern protests’) (in English)
– Analysis titled ‘The Kingdom is in Danger’ by Noureddine Miftah for Panorama Post (in French); good for a sense a sense of ‘sensible’ centre-right thought.
- The problem is not socio-economic, but political
- ‘Tous les corps intermédiaires se sont jetés aux abris et il ne reste plus que le roi face à la rue’; ‘all the intermediate bodies have taken cover, and there is no one left but the king facing the street’
- ‘The particularity of the Rif is that those alive have an unconscious relationship with the dead (…) a kind of lost historical glory (‘gloire historique brisée’)
- ‘The unity of Morocco within the fold (dans le cadre) of a democratic monarchy is a sacred idea’
Monday 12th June
– Report from le desk on previous day’s protest (in French)
– Silya Ziani claims mistreatment at opening of trial (rifonline.net, in French)
Tuesday 13th June
– Bloomberg report that investors ‘are ignoring the latest wave of anti-government protests in Morocco as they continue to pile into North Africa’s top-performing bonds this quarter’ (in English)
Wednesday 14th June
– During official visit to Morocco and after meeting King Mohamed VI, President Macron says that the Rif region is ‘dear to him [M6]’ and that the King ‘considers the protests as legitimate’ (le point afrique, in French).
– The ‘Group of 25’ are sentenced in al-Hoceima court (le desk, in French)
– Tariq Ramadan makes short video intervention via his Facebook page (in French)
– ‘Sharp in the first half of June, [protests] got sharper after the first verdicts against activists were announced on the 14th, with protesters saying on the 15th ‘silmiya; c’est finis’ (‘pacificsm; it’s over’). In fact, protesters’ violence has since remained overwhelmingly defensive, unlike the state’s: speeding riot vans, baton charges, gas attacks, and so on became commonplace for thousands of people in al-Hoceima and Imzouren’ (analysis by Hassan Ashahbar, Thérèse Di Campo, and Joe Hayns for Novara Media, 19th July, in English)
Thursday 15th June
– Le desk report on increased anger following sentences (in French)
Friday 16th June
– Le desk’s headline: ‘Al Hoceima: under fire from gas, “Pacifism, it’s over!”’ (in French)
Saturday 17th June
– Marina Albiol of the United Left (IU; Spain) asks the European Commission if any European intelligence service is investigating any pro-Hirak activists (in Spanish).
– President of Regional Council of Tangier-Tetouan-al-Hoceima and former General Secretary of ‘centre-left’, pro-Makhzan Parti authenticité et modernité (PAM; حزب الأصالة والمعاصرة) Ilyas El Omari calls civil society colloquium. Colloquium demands ‘the immediate liberation of all the detained (…)’ (le desk, in French)
– Morocco World News report that the Arab Reform Initiative ranked Morocco ‘Most democratic country in Arab world’ (in English)
– Le desk reports on mistreatment of Hirak detainees with quotes from defence lawyers, and on arrests of journalists (in French)
Sunday June 18th
– Le desk report that ‘Washington offers its services to Morocco to ‘channel crowds’ (‘canaliser les foules’) (in French; paywalled)
– Al-Mounadil/a’s (see above) analysis on the Moroccan state’s use of discourse of ‘sedition’ (الفتنة) in context of a regional revolutionary period, and the claim that Hirak is ‘foreign-funded’; strong argument that post-2011 changes in Morocco are surface-only.
Wednesday June 21st
– Report from le desk on the protests in al-Hoceima, with focus on protests outside the centre (in French)
Thursday 22nd June
– France-based l’humanité publish article titled ‘the anger in the Rif makes the king of Morocco tremble’ (in French)
Friday 23th June
– Yabiladi.com publish short article on the relations between the 1958 protests in the Rif and Hirak (in French)
Sunday 25th June
– Le desk report that ‘a security source’ criticized a (then-forthcoming, presumably hacked / leaked) report by various para-official ‘N’GOs on police responses to Hirak (in French)
– Meeting between King and ministers; see le desk and le monde afrique’s Monday 26th June reports
Monday June 26th
– Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadam. Assuredly the most important holiday of the year on the day itself and after.
– Day-time protest strongly repressed; le desk report that ‘al-Hoceima and its region are under a state of siege’ (in French)
– Rifonline.net allege that ‘close to 40 children are hospitalised’ (in French)
– ‘A day of bloody clashes on June 26, in what is now being called the Black Eid of 2017’ (Hisham Aidi for The Nation, July 13th, in English)
– As transpired, 44 people were arrested (see le desk, 30th June [in French])
– Le desk reports that ‘Mohamed VI orders an inquiry into the al-Hoceima fiasco’ the day previous (in French)
– King met ministers in the Royal Palace in Casablanca on Sunday 25th to discuss the non-realisation of the ‘Lighthouse’ development project in al-Hoceima
– See also the final paragraph of le monde’s report on the meeting (in French)
Tuesday 27th June
– MAP (state-run news agency) claim 39 police injured on ‘Black Eid’
- le desk’s report on MAP’s allegations here in French)
– Tel quel produce critical report on Monday’ protests (in French)
– Briefest of summary articles in le soir (Belgium) (in French)
Wednesday June 28th
– US-based Newsweek argues that there ‘has been a steady growth of systemic corruption under his [King Mohammed VI’s] rule’, and that he ‘he can no longer offer merely symbolic changes that preserve authoritarian rule’, since ‘Moroccans’ insistence on real change, and the dangers of violent upheaval if they are ignored, are growing. With them grows the danger that extreme and violent Islamist movements’ (‘Why Morocco’s Street Protests Are Growing More Dangerous’, in English).
– Reda Zaireg for Middleeasteye.net on the PJD’s (parti de la justice et du développement ; centre-right Islamist, largest party of governing coalition) internal divisions (in French)
– Tel quel repeat criticism of the prominent para-state human rights organisation the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) for it ‘silence in the fact of accusations of human rights abuses by Hirak militants’, and report that ‘a source’ has ‘assured’ Tel quel that CNDH’s initial findings of inquiry of ‘verbal violence and physical abuse before detention but not of torture’ (‘avant la détention et non de la torture’) (in French, with list of detainees questioned by CNDH in Arabic)
– Barlamane.com attacks CNDH for assessment / leaking of assessment of abuse of Hirak prisoners, as collected by those two CNDH-affiliated doctors on the 19th and 20th of June (in Arabic and French).
– New York Times publish opinion piece nodding to the history of the Rif, the power of the King, and claims that ‘it is a testament to Morocco’s relative openness, to the expectations of change it has nurtured, that protesters felt empowered to criticize the authorities.’ (in English)
– Opinion piece in US-based Morocco World News good for sense of ‘centrist’ pro-regime opinion (in English)
– France-based left-wing news-site Media part release short video introducing Hirak (in French)
– Facebook page ‘Rif OriGinal’ publish video of police attacking protestors with stones (see here)
– Facebook page ‘la république du Rif (1921_1927)’ publish video of protestors in Imzouren chanting ‘God, Nation, People’ (الله، الوطن ، الشعب) against the police’s ‘God, Nation, King’ ( الله، الوطن ، الملك ).
– From appearances, al-Zafzafi livestreams a phone-in from his prison cell. Available from RiffLand TV ريف لاند Facebook group here
– Al-Mounadil/a publish short piece arguing that protestors should avoid direct conflict with the enormously more powerful security services and, instead of such face-offs, realise their power to persuade ‘those carrying the batons of repression’ (الذين يحملون هراوات القمع ) otherwise – this might sound unlikely, and it is, but far less so than a popular military victory against the police, much less the army (in Arabic)
– Readers might wonder why so much was published on this day – it was since Ramadan and then Eid were fully over; the second day after Eid is perhaps comparable to the 3rd or 4th of January in the U.K (including the hangovers).
Thursday 29th June
– Said Chaou arrested by Dutch police in Holland for extradition to Morocco; tel quel repeat insinutations that the alleged drug dealer helped finance Hirak (in French)
– First request for extradition made in June 2015. See Morocco World News’ report published on June 26th on Chaou (in French and English)
– Maghreb-intelligence.com write that Newsweek and The New York Times’ interest in Rif ‘has not passed unseen (inaperçu)’, and that ‘Rabat has chosen to treat the events in al-Hoceima as a strictly internal matter’ (in French)
– Facebook group of ‘the militant’ (‘جريدة المناضل-ة [in Arabic]) publish video of pro-Hirak demonstration in Marrakech (see here for video).
Friday 30th June
– Le desk report on presentation of 44 activists arrested on ‘Black Eid’ to bar in al-Hoceima; ‘Mohamed El Hilali et Abdelouahed Kammouni, respectivement journaliste et directeur du media numérique Rif Press’ are sentenced to five months (in French)
– Opinion piece in US-based Morocco World News claims that ‘Morocco’s official institutions are losing respect and reverence each day as the protests in the Rif continues and news of corruptions and mismanagement persist (…) (a) commission appointed by the King to investigate the situation in Al-Hoceima is the only way out of this political impasse.’ (in English)
– (Unsure of precise release date) Belgium-based solidarity / Hirak group release report titled ‘Morocco in the time of authoritarianism?’, listing five aspects of state repression (over-presence [surprésence] of policy and military; summonings and intimidation; physical violence against peaceful protests; arrests and sentences; criminalisation and torture) (in French)
– Hespress.com report that imprisoned activist will begin hunger strike on the 10th July, and that the Movement’s core demands are an end to the militarization of the Rif, and the release of all political detainees (in Arabic)
Saturday 1st July
– Saad Eddine al-Othmani (سعد الدين العثماني), leader of the PJD (see above), and Prime Minister of coalition government since his royal appointment on 17th March, makes 1 ½ hour appearance on state TV channels.
- Al-Othamani criticizes previous official claims that Hirak are separatists
- Lauds security forces, though adds that the CNDH (see above) are investigating abuses
- Says that arrests and sentencing are a judicial matter
- Promise of development via the ‘Lighthouse’ project
- Reports from Morocco World News, July 2nd (in English); Tel quel, July 2nd (in French); entire interview from Shahid TV here (in Arabic)
– Somewhat curiously, al-Othmani’s double predecessor, former leader of the PJD and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. breaks his three-month silence to say ‘Morocco risks disappearing, and I’m at the end – expect the unexpected’, that the ‘state is gangrenous with corruption’, and, on the King, that Moroccans might ‘critiquer le gouvernement ou un conseiller, ce n’est pas un problème car les conseillers ne sont pas sacrés’.
Sunday July 2nd
– Due to police’s presence in al-Hoceima, al-Hirak protests on nearby beaches. Report from France 24 (in French)
– Le desk report on one thousand person-strong solidarity protest in Paris (in French)
Monday 3rd July
– Yabliladi.com on women-led protests against political detention in Casablaca (in French)
– Respectmag.com publish article titled ‘What are the Rif’s Demands?’ (‘Quelles sont les revendications du Rif?’). Interesting especially for detail of Rifian diaspora’s organising in Paris (in French)
– Badil.info’s straightforward report on release of the release of CNDH’s report on police repression (in Arabic)
– Moroccan historian Maati Monjib explains to l’humanité that ‘le Hirak, un mouvement populaire autonome, non séparatiste et prodémocratique’ (in French)
- Le Desk’s report on the interview (5th June, in French)
– France 24 report on beach-side protests outside al-Hoceima (in French)
Tuesday July 4th
– Le Monde afrique report that ‘the police retire from the centre of al-Hoceima (‘Le gouverneur de la province a annoncé un repli « progressif »’) (in French)
– Le Matin asks: ‘Rif: Why are the police retreating from the centre of al-Hoceima?’ (in French)
– Le desk comments on the July 3rd article in Barlamane.com, which it describes as ‘a propaganda site owned by the security services’. Clearly tensions between security services and para-state human rights groups over repression.
Wednesday July 5th
– Le desk report on plans for ‘a huge women’s gathering’ in Casablanca for the then-coming Friday (in French)
– Statement from comrades at Attac Maroc against the police repression of their members (in Arabic)
– Zafzafi’s letter from his cell to ‘the sons of the Rif’ (alaoual.com, in Arabic)
Thursday 6th July
– An al-Hirak-sympathetic, longer, summary-style piece in bastamag.net (in French)
– ‘Morocco: Torture Officially Recognised’ – story in Liberté Algérie on fact that : ‘Rabat (…) confirme l’existence d’un rapport contenant des expertises médicales établies pour le compte du Conseil national des droits de l’homme marocain, quant à la pratique de la torture sur les détenus du “Hirak” du Rif’ (in French)
Friday 7th July
– Women-led protest against detention / with al-Hirak in Casablanca (video, hespress.com, in Arabic)
- Women-led anti-detention protest heavily repressed in Rabat (awaiting answer to request to share comrades’ account).
– Huffington Post Maghreb’s report on organising against political detention (in French)
– Euronews.com report that 176 are in detention (in French)
– Le Desk reports of’ ‘un site de propagande policière’ sharing a video al-Zafzafi under obvious duress saying he hasn’t been the victim of violence (in French)
– Parti Socialiste (Belgium) representatives Nadia el Yousfi, Amet Gjanaj and Catherine Moureaux visit Morocco (a ‘mission) (lacapitale.be, in French)
– Profile of Inez Weski, Saïd Chaou’s (see above) barrister (in French)
Saturday 8th July
– ‘Morocco: a century after, mustard gas continues to haunt the Rif’ (Challenges.fr, in French)
– The Economist on al-Hirak; especially interesting for its referencing of al-Hirak’s demands (in English)
Sunday 9th July
– ‘Female activists in Morocco say they will continue to press the government for justice’, al-Jazeera, in English.
Monday 10th July
– Beginning of al-Zafzafi’s trial, with risk of ‘decades’ in prison (le monde afrique, in French)
– ‘Today’s Hirak in the Moroccan Rif is a nightmare for the Algerian Military but a ray of hope for the Kabyle nationalists’ (Morocco World News, in English)
– Hirak leader Mohamed Jelloul writes a letter to the movement from his cell in d’Okcacha prison (letter here, in French)
Monday 11th July
– Lina Charif, speaking at the European Parliament, Brussels, discusses al-Hirak (video in English)
Sunday 16th July
– Analysis/semi-autobiographical piece published in thenation.com by Hisham Aidi on the history of Rif/central state relations, Rifianness, and argument behind claim that ‘The Rif has become the epicenter and impetus for political protest in Morocco’ – probably the best piece of writing in English on Hirak.
Friday July 14th
– Analysis piece published in counterpunch.org by Nadir Bouhmouch and Elias Terras: ‘In this context of capitalist predation, the uprising in the Rif should be seen as a justified expression of the popular anger which has been boiling both, under and over the surface for decades (…) But the breadth and grassroots strength of the Hirak, makes it stand out as an extraordinary force, capable of shifting and revealing the contradictions within the seemingly stable grip of the Makhzen. The Makhzen knows this, which is why its response has been so brutal (…) Thus, cracks have begun to grow in the steel surface of the Makhzen’s pressure cooker.’ (In English)
Saturday 15th July
– On the local authorities’ banning of the 20th July protest, through law first used against Rifian protestors on 15th November 1958 (yabiladi.com, in French)
– On the same, Rifonline.net report ‘dans un communiqué, la préfecture d’Al-Hoceima a justifié l’interdiction de cette nouvelle sortie contestataire par la menace que pourrait constituer une telle manifestation pour la sécurité des citoyens’ (in French)
Monday 17th July
– Yabiladi report on support for 20th July protests, with focus on diaspora’s returning (in French)
– Yabiladi report that local authorities ban the 20th July march (in French)
– ‘Despite the announced banning of protest, activists mobilise’ (riflonline.net, in French)
Tuesday 18th July
– ‘Who is Silya Ziani really?’ (Tel quel, in French)
– 25 detainees’ sentences reduced in the al-Hoceima court of appeal (H2info.ma, in French)
– ‘In Morocco, no place for independent journalists’ (In French, from Orient XXI)
– ‘There will never be peace in the Rif until our demands are met’; essay on women-led demonstrations in Casablanca from Maroc-leaks.com (in French)
Wednesday 19th July
– ‘Mohamed VI opts for confrontation’, according to Liberté Algérie, who also provide an accurate-seeming appraisal of the various parties’ attitudes to the 20th (in French)