Thousands demand justice for dead Moroccan fishmonger

Thousands demand justice for dead Moroccan fishmonger
2 min read
12 November, 2016
Protesters in Morocco gathered in their thousands on Friday, demanding authorities uncover the truth about a fishmonger who was crushed by a garbage truck when authorities confiscated his products.
Thousands of protesters held Berber flags as they demanded justice for Fikri [AFP]

Thousands of Moroccans took to the streets on Friday to demand justice for a fishmonger who was crushed to death in a garbage truck.

Protesters demanded information surrounding the incident, urging authorities to find who was responsible for starting up the rubbish truck's crushing mechanism on 28 October killing Mouhcine Fikri.

"Rest, Mouhcine. We will continue the fight!" crowds chanted on Friday, according to footage streamed live on social media.

Protesters including many young people marched through al-Hoceima's streets, carrying candles and flowers, and waving Berber flags - a scene that has been repeated several times since the grisly death.

"Long live the Amazigh," they cried, referring to Morocco's Berber community.

"Down with hogra," protesters shouted, using a Moroccan term used to denounce what they see as the unfairness of authorities towards ordinary Moroccans.

Fikri, 31, died last month in the city of al-Hoceima as he tried to protest against the seizure and destruction of swordfish, which are not allowed to be caught at this time of year.

His death in the Rif - an ethnically Berber region long neglected and at the heart of a 2011 protest movement for reform - triggered protests nationwide.

King Mohammed VI was quick to order an investigation, but it remains unclear who activated the crusher.

Local media reported that police allegedly told the driver to "grind him" although the prosecutor issued a statement saying "no specific order was given to kill" Fikri.

Some have compared Fikri's death to the death of Tunisian vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, which sparked the Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa.

Experts say Fikri's death is unlikely to lead to a revolution in Morocco, but it is putting pressure on Moroccan leadership.

Authorities last week arrested 11 people suspected of involuntary manslaughter over Fikri's death and remanded eight in custody.

They included two interior ministry employees, two fisheries officials, the head of the local veterinary services and three rubbish collection workers.