Larbi participated in the May 29 Casablanca protest.
A week ago, the 20th February Movement announced plans for the protest via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. I decided to participate as there has been no change since the government announced constitutional reform, and corruption is still rife.
Some friends and I got to Avenue Achaggar in the Fbatta neighbourhood at about 6pm on Sunday. We expected a large police presence because we didn’t have a permit to protest. Since the 20th of February, the protest organisers have stopped bothering to ask for permission because it is always rejected anyway. We also expected this protest to be suppressed by the authorities because the tone of the government’s rhetoric has become increasingly repressive over the past two weeks. In the town of Rabat, the Moroccan police attacked a group of young people from the 20th of February Movement with batons to stop them from protesting. But I was still totally astounded by the quantity of police that were stationed there. They were everywhere - it was like the neighbourhood was under siege!
The protesters included women and children; they came from all walks of life. On several occasions we attempted to form a procession but we were systematically pushed back by the police. As soon as a group formed, the police baton-charged to disperse them. Several people were pursued into the side streets where many were severely beaten because there was nobody there to film it.
A woman is violently hit by police officers at 1min 41. Video posted on Youtube by casa20fevrier on May 29 2011.
Police even chased protesters into their houses. Video posted on Youtube par casa20fevrier on May 29 2011.
On Avenue Achaggar, a pro-government rally passed through, with the endorsement of the police. Everyone has the right to protest, even those who support the current regime. But it is unfair that this pro-government demonstration, which was also unauthorised, should be protected by the police when it was a very different story for us.
We resigned ourselves to the futility of our attempts after being chased for a long time by the police. It was really disheartening to see how a peaceful protest could be so savagely put down by the police. But we are not going to stop now; come the next protest, we’ll all be there again in force!"