Morocco’s Democratic Way blocked from holding national conference, supporters attacked by police

Morocco’s Ministry of Interior has been delaying granting permission for the conference of the marxist Democratic Way (Al-Nahj Al-Democratic) party for several months now  

July 19, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Pro-Democratic Way protesters assaulted Morocco
(Photo: JVD Rabat/Twitter)

On Monday, July 18, Moroccan security forces used force to disperse protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Interior in Rabat to oppose the government’s refusal to grant permission for the fifth national conference of the leftist Democratic Way party. 

According to a statement issued by the party, the brutal repression by the security forces left several protesters injured. Some of those injured were later admitted to hospital. Security forces also assaulted the secretary general of Democratic Way, Mustafa Brahama, and the president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Aziz Ghaly.    

Democratic Way’s fifth national conference was scheduled to be held from July 22-24. The conference was originally scheduled to be held last year but was postponed after authorities refused to grant permission citing health emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no reason has been mentioned for the delay in granting the permission now.  

Monday’s repression invited sharp reactions and condemnation of the Moroccan government from across the world. Layan Sima Fuleihan, who works with The People’s Forum in New York City, expressed solidarity in a tweet saying that the protesters have the’ “right to hold their national congress in public space.”  

Historian and political activist Vijay Prashad also condemned “the Moroccan ministry of interior for preventing the fifth national conference of the Democratic Way and for beating up the protesters.”

On Friday, scores of activists, trade unions, human rights and civil society groups participated in a round table conference organized in Rabat and signed a petition in solidarity with the Democratic Way’s right to hold its national conference. The petitioners also expressed concerns over the “deterioration of peoples’ economic, social and cultural rights situation” in the country. 

Read more: Morocco’s Democratic Way faces intensified crackdown

In an editorial published on the Democratic Way’s website, the party accused the authorities of indulging in “double standards” with a deliberate policy of delaying permission in order to suppress the left and other democratic voices. It claimed that other political groups are allowed to conduct their meetings without any hurdles. “It’s a part of the plan to suppress the party and marginalize it to further extent possible in the country’s politics,” the editorial said.  

Democratic Way has been targeted for its criticism of Morocco’s monarchical government and its anti-people policies. It has organized various mass movements against the government’s anti-people economic policies and pro-US decisions like the normalization of relations with Israel.