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Moroccan ministers' holidays cancelled until developments in restless Rif region are completed Open in fullscreen

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Moroccan ministers' holidays cancelled until developments in restless Rif region are completed

Protests peaked in June due to frustrations over police intervention and the economy [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 6 August, 2017

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The restive Rif region will benefit from new development projects - directly ordered by the King - with ten leading ministers forced to cancel holiday plans until they are completed.
Morocco's prime minister cancelled holidays for ten ministers on Saturday to ensure that essential development works in the country's restive Rif region continue on schedule.

Saadeddine al-Othmani said the government officials will continue to carry out visits to the region to ensure that essential development plans remain on target.

The prime minister confirmed during a weekly meeting of his council that all other ministers could take holiday - on the condition that they remained contactable at all times.

Othmani is under pressure from King Mohammed VI to act quickly to ensure that unrest in the Rif region doesn't begin to rise again.

The Moroccan king had previously warned in July that holiday plans would be cancelled unless concrete steps to implement the demands of angry protesters were met.

The king also promised major investment for the Rif region - previously under-developed by central government - following riots in June and July.

The Rif region's main port, al-Hoceima, has been rocked by protests since October, when a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck.

These protests grew more violent as civilians grew angrier at the increased presence of armed police officers and reached fever pitch in June when riot police and protesters clashed on a daily basis.

He ordered security to wind down their presence in the area.

King Mohammed said on his 'Throne Day' speech on 30 July that his government suffered from "poor governance and weak performance" and compared poorly to the country's private sector.

Over a thousand prisoners were pardoned by the king ahead of his speech in a gesture of good will, including protesters.

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