Morocco’s king to address nation after protests | Pakistan Today

Morocco’s king to address nation after protests

RABAT – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI will address the nation late Wednesday, the government announced, delivering his first statement since protests last month demanding political reforms.
The address at 8:00 pm (2000 GMT) will be broadcast live on television and radio, the Royal House ministry said in a statement. It will be the first time the king has delivered an address to the nation since thousands of people demonstrated in several cities on February 20 demanding political reform and limits on his powers.
They were the first protests in the country since the start of the uprisings across the Arab world that toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt this year. There have been other peaceful rallies since then, including in the capital Rabat and the country’s biggest city Casablanca, with young activists campaigning for greater democracy using the Facebook social network to call for new demonstrations on March 20.
Six people were killed in unrest that erupted after the February 20 demonstrations, including five found burned to death in a bank set ablaze by people whom officials labelled vandals.
Another 128, including 115 members of the security forces, were wounded in the violence and 120 people were arrested, the interior ministry said. Dozens of vehicles and buildings were also damaged or set alight.
On February 21, during the launch of an Economic and Social Council, the king spoke of his commitment to “pursuing the realisation of structural reforms”. He also expressed his willingness to “strengthen” the country’s accomplishments “by new reforms”.
An advisor to King Mohammed VI also told union leaders late last month that the monarch wanted reforms, without specifying what they would be or when they would be introduced, according to a union activist at the meeting.
The advisor, Mohammed Moatassim, said “that the king has decided to start political, economic and social reforms,” Democratic Federation of Labour secretary general Abderrahmane Azzouzi told AFP.
He also “specified that Morocco cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around it,” Azzouzi said.
The Moroccan government has said it has heard the demands for more change and is committed to speeding up reforms, which it says were already on its national agenda.

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