Moroccans protest price hikes and ‘repression’

Published December 5, 2022
Demonstrators take part in a march called by the Moroccan Social Front (FSM) coalition to protest “soaring prices, political repression, and social oppression”, in the capital Rabat, on December 4. — AFP
Demonstrators take part in a march called by the Moroccan Social Front (FSM) coalition to protest “soaring prices, political repression, and social oppression”, in the capital Rabat, on December 4. — AFP

RABAT: Thousands of protesters marched in Morocco’s capital Rabat on Sunday decrying the “high cost of living and repression”, amid surging inflation and rising social discontent.

“The people want lower prices... The people want to eliminate despotism and corruption,” chanted the crowd, estimated by journalists to be around 3,000 people, the largest such rally in recent months.

“We came to protest against a government that embodies the marriage of money and power,” said Younes Ferachine, a coordinator from the Moroccan Social Front (FSM) group of political parties and left-wing trade unions that organised the rally.

People converged from across Morocco for the protest, which was also called to highlight the cases of several jailed bloggers and journalists. Hit by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation, poverty levels are back to where they were in 2014, the government’s High Commission for Planning said in a recent report.

Consumer price inflation was 7.1 percent year-on-year in October, due in large part to surging food prices, triggered partly by an intense drought that has hit farmers.

Faced with the recent protests, Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch has lately promoted expanding medical coverage, with more than 10 million low-income Moroccans enrolling in recent weeks.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2022

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