Moroccan police detain activist Nasser Zefzafi

Nasser Zefzafi

Moroccan police say they have detained a leading activist responsible for organising months of protests against corruption and unemployment.

Nasser Zefzafi will be tried for “threatening national security”, prosecutors say.

Morocco has been gripped by protests since October, following the death of a fishmonger in the town of al-Hoceima.

On Sunday, demonstrations were reported in the capital Rabat, as well as Nador, Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakesh.

Demonstrators in al-Hoceima expressed support for Mr. Zefzafi, chanting “the state is corrupt” and “we are all Zefzafi”.

More than 20 activists were arrested over the weekend following clashes between protesters and the police.

Prosecutors ordered Mr Zefzafi’s arrest on Friday, following allegations that he had interrupted a prayer ceremony at a mosque in al-Hoceima.

He had “obstructed, in the company of a group of individuals, freedom of worship” at the mosque, prosecutors said.

Mr. Zefzafi’s supporters clashed with police as he went into hiding, reports said, before he was detained on Monday.

The protests were triggered by the death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed to death by a rubbish truck as he tried to rescue fish confiscated by the police.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets, accusing the authorities of abuse and injustice.

His death drew parallels to that of a Tunisian fruit seller in 2010 which helped spark the Arab Spring uprisings.

 

Zainab Sa’id