Morocco. According to
COUNTRYAAH, half a million Islamists demonstrated in
Casablanca on March 12 against the government's plan for
increased gender equality. After the demonstration, the bill
was sent out on a new investigation round, and the
responsible minister, Sad Sadi, was dismissed. Abd as-Salam
Yasin, leader of al-Adl wa-l-ihsan (Justice and Charity),
was released in May from the house arrest to which he had
been sentenced since 1989. Later in the year, the government
decided to allow Imams to hold religious sermons against
nudity on the beaches, which has previously been banned.
The government was reported during the year to have
forced ten Moroccan newspapers to close. Among them were
three political weekly magazines that closed in early
December after publishing reports that a group of socialists
in 1972 had attempted to assassinate King Hassan II, when
the current Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi was a
Morocco and several other Arab countries broke their
diplomatic relations with Israel in October because of the
violence in the Palestinian territories.
A large oil and natural gas discovery was made in August
in the Talsinnt region near the border with Algeria. The
findings were estimated to correspond to up to 2 billion
barrels. M. has so far imported all its oil.
On June 6, over 60,000 in Rabat and Casablanca
demonstrated under the words "Down with the tyranny" and
"Down with the corruption". They carried large photo booths
of Kamal Amari, who had been killed by police during a May
On June 17, the King announced in a TV speech that he had
drafted constitutional amendments that were submitted for
voting on June 1. February 20 the motion rejected King's
reforms. They demanded a "democratic constitution" and a
"parliamentary monarchy". That is why they called for a
boycott of the referendum. On July 2, the regime announced
that the new constitution had been adopted with 98.5% of the
vote and that the voting percentage had been 73.5%. The
constitutional amendments formally consisted in the
prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment,
arbitrary arrests and disappearances. However, the security
forces continued their practice so far. The demonstrations
also continued unchanged and so did the security forces'
zero tolerance of the protests.
In parallel with the protest movement in Morocco, from
February a protest movement in Western Sahara developed
against the continued Moroccan occupation. In May, the
security forces managed to crush the protests.
As a result of the protests in Morocco, the king
accelerated the holding of parliamentary elections until
November 2011. It was won by the moderate Islamic Justice
and Development Party, which gained 22.8% of the vote. That
was a doubling of the party's result in 2007. The mandate
went from 46 to 107. The party's leader Abdelilah Benkirane
was appointed by the king as prime minister for a minority
government. Turnout increased slightly to 45%.
Women demonstrated in Rabat in April 2012 after young
16-year-old woman Amina Filali committed suicide. The
background was that a court had ordered her to marry a man
who had raped her.
Since 2008, Morocco has had special status in the EU. Ie
that the country receives preferential treatment among the
EU's neighboring states. It receives DKK 580 million. € in
EU assistance in 2011-13. The country is also close to the
United States and receives $ 697 million. US $ in 2008-13.
In 2011, the US Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the
political reforms in the country and women's rights.
In February 2013, a military court sentenced 25 Saharui
prison sentences - 9 of them to life imprisonment. Despite
the adoption of a new constitution in 2011 that included
improvements in the human rights of citizens, the practice
of the authorities remained unchanged. Security forces
routinely attack protesters, torture is widespread at the
country's police stations, and laws continue to criminalize
acts that may be interpreted as offensive to the king,
monarchy, Islam or Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara
- which is not recognized by any state in the world.
Journalists and bloggers who write articles that can be
interpreted as a criticism of the king, of leading politics
or of the country's actions in Western Sahara are routinely
subjected to harassment, bitching or imprisonment. The same
goes for musicians.