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Brutal Repression in Sidi Ifni (Morocco)

category north africa | repression / prisoners | appeal / petition author Monday June 23, 2008 08:19author by Int'l Secretary - NEFAC-USauthor email secretary at nefac dot netauthor address PO. Box 230685, Boston, MA 02123 Report this post to the editors

On May 30th, 2008, a large march headed toward the port, deciding to set up an encampment to block the entrance and stopping the refrigerated fish trucks from leaving. Since that day, the protests continue. And frequent acts of repression: persecutions, beatings, inspection and destruction of the shelters..... there are also deaths.

For a while now, the Ait Baamran, an Amazigh tribe from the area, have been protesting their marginalization, the delayed operation of the the new port and all the promises of development, widespread unemployment and favoritism in public sector hiring for the city government. In September of 2007, the boycott of the Parliamentary elections was practically unanimous, in response to the call made by the coalition of associations.

On May 30th, 2008, a large march headed toward the port, deciding to set up an encampment to block the entrance and stopping the refrigerated fish trucks from leaving. Since that day, the protests continue. And frequent acts of repression: persecutions, beatings, inspection and destruction of the shelters..... there are also deaths.

More information below.

For that reason, we ask you all to write an email and send a fax with the following text or something similar (a sample letter is attached) to the following addresses:

Proposed text in English:
The immediate withdrawal of the Public Order forces from the city.
The immediate and unconditional release of the detained.
An independent investigation of the facts and prosecution of the culprits of these abuses.
The acceptance of the legitimate grievances of the residents of Sidi Ifni.
No more marginalization of the Ait Baamran.

In French:
Le retrait en urgence des forces de l’ordre de la ville
La libération immédiate et inconditionnelle des détenus
L´ouverture d´une enquête indépendante et des poursuites contre les auteurs de ces exactions.
La satisfaction des revendications légitimes des habitants de sidi ifni
Non à la marginalité des ait baamran

Prime Minister :
Fax 00212-37768656

Minister of Justice :
Fax 00 212-37723710

Minister of the Interior:
Fax 00212-37766861 / 37767404

More Information:

On Sunday, May 15th, the caravan in solidarity with the people of Sidi Ifni left from Guelmine and Tiznit en route to Sidi Ifni with people from all over Morocco, from the North, South, East and West, and with the support of the Amazigh (Berber) movement, from all human rights organizations and Left parties, more than 500 participants.

At the entrance to the city, its residents, who have maintained their struggle despite military occupation and isolation of the besieged city, (women's demonstration on May 8th, savagely repressed, general strike on May 12th, deserted streets, walked only by military boots) came out to welcome the caravan, breaking the police fence that kept them isolated.

The march went around the entire city, more than 10,000 people joined. (Sidi Ifni has around 20,000 inhabitants). The march went by the neighborhoods that suffered the police attack, the sacking and violation of homes, the signs of these attacks could still be seen.

The breaking of the city police barrier has been a great victory of the solidarity caravan. Some comrades, refugees from the mountains due to police persecution, joined in the march, taking advantage of the caravan's entrance and gave their testimony of what occurred on June 7th. Chants were heard demanding to cease the police persecutions, their withdrawal from the city and to begin dialog with the authorities.

The arrival of the march near the Moulay Ali Abdellah School and the provocative presence of the police nearby motivated the combative response of the youth, who have been at the front of the struggle at all times. The violent response of the police forces firing tear gas, resulted in serious injuries to one young man. He was hit on the head by a tear gas bomb, and was taken to Agadir hospital where he remains in intensive care.

Finally the march coincided with the burial of Mohamed Chafai, who died of a heart attack when the police invaded his home, arresting his son. His burial inspired another mass march, denouncing his death as a murder, the repression and demanding punishment for those responsible.

In spite of all the abuses of power, of the repression against the media (Aljazeera director, Al Massae...), of the police fence around Sidi Ifni, of the establishment of military tent hospitals where there is no possibility of ascertaining any information about the state of the injured, of the restriction of information in the civil hospitals, the truth continues opening the way and each time it looks more cetain that the brutal repression of June 7th caused several deaths. In addition to the four bodies that appeared on the beach and are yet to be identified, King Hassan's old tactic of the “disappeared” is returning. The deaths are denied and the bodies don't appear so that there is no proof. There are disappeared comrades whose whereabouts nobody knows: they've fled, are in hospitals or maybe even dead.

The caravan and the march on Sunday has lead to, not only the breaking of the fence around the city, but also a great dose of motivation and of morale for the population that came back en masse to take the streets. Now more than ever they need solidarity and support.

The Northeastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) would like to express its maximum solidarity and support to the struggle and the resistance of the Ait Baanram people of Sidi Ifni against unemployment, the lack of social rights and the marginalization of the area.

NEFAC-US International Secretary:

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