Morocco protester in coma after clashes with police

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iStock

Al Hoceima - A protester was in a coma after being struck on the head during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in northern Morocco, local authorities said on Friday.

He was taken to hospital overnight after being wounded by "stone throwing" in the clashes on Thursday in the city of Al-Hoceima, official news agency MAP quoted the authorities as saying.

Authorities are seeking to "identify the person and clarify the circumstances of the incident", MAP said, adding that the patient would be flown to a hospital in the capital Rabat for further treatment.

On Thursday, police in Al-Hoceima fired tear gas to disperse protesters and stop them marching in defiance of a government ban to demand the release of fellow activists.

MAP earlier reported 72 police officers were wounded from stones being thrown and 11 of the protesters were injured from the tear gas. It said two officers were in a serious condition.

Al-Hoceima, the main port in the Rif region, has been hit by unrest since a fishmonger was crushed to death in a garbage truck last year as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated for being caught out of season.

Calls for justice evolved into a protest movement dubbed Al-Hirak Al-Shaabi demanding jobs, development, and an end to corruption in the mainly Berber region.

After months of demonstrations and frequent clashes between protesters and police, authorities cracked down, arresting more than 175 people including the movement's leader Nasser Zefzafi.

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