Al Hoceima Activists Schedule Demonstrations During Eid alFitr

Rabat – In Al Hoceima, demonstrations are being organized for the day of Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday marking the end of Ramadan due to take place Sunday or Monday.The holiday,typically spent at home in the company of family, will apparently not prevent protesters in Rif region from continuing their demonstrations demanding the release of all activists detained during recent police crackdowns on protests in the region.On social media, calls for demonstrations the day of Eid are spreading. The ranks of the protests movement in Rif, known as Al Hirak, is likely swell as many Riffians living in other cities of Morocco or abroad are expected to join as they head to Al Hoceima to celebrate Eid with their families. Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, protests in Al Hoceima and nearby towns such as Ajdir and Imzouren did not lose momentum.Protesters took to the streets at night after breaking the fast. The situation grew in tension as the key activists of the movement were arrested and transferred to Casablanca where they face seriouscharges,including “undermining state security.”Among the detainees are Nasser Zefzafi, the movement’s most prominent member, whose arrest back in May sparked clashes between protesters and security forces.A chilling wave of arrests ensued, prompting civil society activists, writers, and journalists to criticize the government’s management of crisis in the region.On Friday dozens of mourners attended the funeral of the father of El Mortada Iamrachen, a moderate activist of Al Hirak who is being prosecuted for allegedly “praising terrorism.”Iamrachen was detained in Salé when his father died. The Ministry of Justice allowed him to attend his father’s funeral. Later on it was announced he will be prosecuted in provisional liberty.His arrest, based on false news reports that he had attempted to smuggle weapons into Rif back in 2011, led the government to come under criticism.During the week, the government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said the government will abstainfrom commenting the case of Rif detainees, as it had come under judicial jurisdiction.The defense team of the detainees has seen the serious nature of the charges against their client as an indication that the government had opted for a hardline attitude vis-à-vis Al Hirak.Meanwhile, families of detainees and supporters of the movement are hoping King Mohammed VI will intervene to grant pardon for the activists, as part of the traditional wave of royal pardons on the occasion of Eid.