Moroccan authorities crack down on pro-democracy protests ahead of elections

Eight leaders from the left organization the Democratic Way were arrested over the weekend in protests calling for democratization and a boycott of the elections

September 05, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Members of the Democratic Way marched in Casablanca, Morocco in support of democratization. Photo: Democratic Way

The Moroccan left-wing organization the Democratic Way launched a call to boycott the upcoming elections on Wednesday September 8, 2021. This past weekend, members of the organization participated in protests in major cities across the country such as Casablanca, Mohammedia, Tangier, Kenitra and others to spread awareness of their campaign and to condemn the undemocratic electoral process.

Their protests however were met with brutal repression by the state authorities and several members of the organization were beaten, arrested, and had their personal information taken down. The Democratic Way reported that the secretary general of the organization Mustafa Brahma as well as members Zahra Aslaf, Yassine Zouhir, Chafik Bahmad, Moulazim Lakbir and several others were among those detained. Members of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights were also arrested over the weekend.

The organization has vehemently condemned the arrests and pointed out that their protests and boycott campaign are not in violation of the law. They stated that the repression is in an effort to intimidate them and stop their boycott campaign. They also highlighted that several irregularities took place during the detentions.

The International Peoples’ Assembly, a platform of people’s movements, organizations, trade unions and left parties from across the world released a statement condemning the arrests and calling for international support to the pro-democracy struggle in Morocco.

The upcoming elections in the country have been widely condemned by progressive movements in Morocco as being undemocratic in nature. Morocco is a parliamentary monarchy wherein the King essentially has control over all branches of government. While the king was forced to make some “democratic” concessions in 2011 following mass protests sparked by the Arab Spring, progressives maintain that institutions are still not independent. The electoral process, for example, is administered by the interior minister who is appointed by the king. The Democratic Way stated that the process does not allow for the true participation of the people in the political process.