Morocco cops break up demo, several hurt

2011-05-30 08:47

Casablanca - Moroccan police used truncheons to break up a new pro-reform demonstration in Casablanca on Sunday, leaving around two dozen people wounded, according to security forces and activists.

A large number of police were deployed in Morocco's largest city to thwart the protest called by the February 20 Movement, a youth-dominated group leading a wave of protests inspired by uprisings in other Arab nations.

"Police were deployed into all the roads around the boulevard where the demonstration was planned. There are dozens hurt," activist Abdelmounaim Ouhetti said.

A security official told AFP: "There are 29 lightly wounded, including some members of the security forces."

The February 20 Movement, named after the date of the first major uprising it organised, demands political and constitutional reforms, including limits to the powers of King Mohammed VI.

Police also dispersed dozens of people gathered for a similar protest in the northern city of Tangiers Sunday.

Authorities have broken up several other demonstrations, which they say have not been authorised.

The king responded to the first demonstrations in March by announcing plans for major constitutional reform, providing notably for the separation of powers among the executive, judiciary and legislative branches.

At the time, his speech was widely hailed but since then critics have begun to speak out against the use of force by police, particularly against youths of the February 20 Movement.