Massive demonstrations against “expensive living and repression” in Morocco

Several thousand Moroccans demonstrated in Rabat on Sunday against political “high prices and repression”, at the call of left-wing organizations, against a backdrop of accelerating inflation and rising social discontent.

This national march, one of the largest in recent months, brought together around 3,000 people in the center of the capital Rabat, according to journalists present, in the absence of an official estimate. It was organized by the Moroccan Social Front (FSM), which brings together political parties and left-wing trade unions.

Return to 2014 poverty level

“The people want lower prices… The people want to bring down despotism and corruption,” chanted the demonstrators. “We came to protest against a government that embodies the marriage of money and power and that supports monopoly capitalism,” said WSF national coordinator Younès Ferachine.

Morocco has returned “to the level of poverty and vulnerability of 2014”, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation, according to a recent note from the High Commission for Planning (HCP). Soaring prices (+7.1% in October year-on-year), increases in the cost of fuel, food and services, combined with an exceptional drought, are hampering growth (+0.8% only forecast for 2022 ).

Political repression denounced

The purchasing power of the underprivileged strata, but also of the middle class, is particularly affected in a country which already suffers from social and territorial disparities. Coming from all over the kingdom, the demonstrators also denounced “all forms of political, anti-union repression and against freedom of expression, while several bloggers and journalists, critics of the government, are imprisoned.

For their part, pro-Palestinian activists have castigated the normalization with Israel since December 2020, which is not going well with a good part of the population. Many Palestinian flags were visible in the parade.

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General medical coverage

Faced with the protests of recent weeks, the liberal government of businessman Aziz Akhannouch is putting forward its “social policy”, including the generalization of medical coverage for all.

More than 10 million low-income Moroccans have been admitted to this program since the beginning of the month. In October, the government also launched a sovereign fund, endowed with 4.1 billion euros, in order to boost public investment and revive the economy of the Maghreb country.

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