Moroccan PM ‘El-Othmani’ Expresses Regret over Violence in Al Hoceima

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Omthmani has expressed his sadness and regret over the violent incidents in the city of Al Hoceima on Monday, the day of Eid al-Fitr, when clases renewed between protesters and security forces.

Police forces attempted to prevent protesters from holding a demonstration to demand the release of the detained activists of the Hirak (protests movement in Al Hoceima region), when clashes erupted.

El Othmani told Moroccan media on Wednesday he is sad for what happened in the city, calling for the respect of law when dealing with the protests.

The head of government also asserted that investigations in allegations of violations of torture are taking place, adding that he trusts the judiciary and believes it will guarantee all the accused detained activists fair trials.

As for the development projects in Al Hoceima, home to more than eight months long protests, El Othmani said the government is mobilized to implement King Mohammed VI’s instructions to speed up the realizations of the projects.

On Saturday, the King chaired a meeting of the Council of Ministers where he expressed his disappointment at the delay of the projects in the city. As a result, he cancelled vacations of several ministers.

In October 2015 the King launched, “Al Hoceima Manarat Al Moutawasit,” a huge development program aimed at building up the area’s infrastructure, generate jobs and provide necessary social services for the population of the city and nearby towns, where rates of cancer and unemployment remain high.

However, the eight months of protests and increasing tension between the government and local population make the government under pressure to speed up the realization of the projects and send positive signals to the local inhabitants by decreasing the heavy security presence in the area.

As the local population sees none of this happening, the stalemate in Al Hoceima is expected to last.