#feb20's latest

For my money, the best-produced and most dramatic Arab Spring videos have been those of Morocco's February 20 movement. Here's the latest, calling for a boycott of the July 1 referendum.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

Morocco #fev20: group pulls out(?)

Reuters reports that one group in the Moroccan coalition that is protesting today has backed out:

(Reuters) - A Moroccan youth movement that led calls for nationwide protests on Sunday has pulled out because of a disagreement with Islamists and leftists over the role of the monarchy, one of its leaders said.

I suspect they were intimidated, because one would think they would have thought about their partners in this, who would bring out the numbers, earlier. Surely the better logic would be to have people from the mainstream center participate so that Islamists and leftists don't monopolize the day. This will make it easier for the regime to paint the protests as run by "extremists". 

Update: Some of the people alleged to have pullout have issued a denial.

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Tomorrow, D-Day in Morocco #fev20

Above is the second video ahead of February 20 protests for constitutional reform, the dissolution of parliament and the formalization of the Amazigh (Berber) language(s) in Morocco. These videos have been attacked as too well produced to be the work of young Moroccans, which tells you a lot about the contempt the regime has for the country's youth. Incidentally, I think it was a mistake to add the second two requests — the last parliamentary election was fairly clean (even if money played a big role) and the question of Amazigh is a) divisive and b) something parliament can vote for. The real problem is the emasculation of parliament by a constitutional framework that gives all power to the palace. But that just my jouj centimes and I wholeheartedly support the protest movement.
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An update on Morocco's protests #fev20

Following up on my previous post on Morocco, here is the video made ahead of the February 20 protests for constitutitional reform (and muche else), but with subtitles this time.
The Moroccan press and most of the political parties are on full-fledged attack mode against the organizers of the 20 February movement, accusing them of either being irresponsible, extremist or actually traitorous. The narrative emerging from the inimitable Minister of Communications, Khaled Naciri (effectively the government spokesman) is that some wayward Moroccan youth are being led astray by a call from Facebook that is probably initiated by an American-Iranian-Algerian-Polisario conspiracy.
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Morocco: #Feb20 campaign

The video above is part of a viral campaign to encourage people to protest in Morocco on February 20. The call to protest was initially put out by the center-left PSU party, but it is also backed by civil society movements. Many are skeptical that this movement will end up very far: unlike Egypt or Tunisia, Morocco has not been ruled by the same man for over two decades (Muhammad VI became king in 1999). 

But there are similarities with these countries: over the last five years or so, Morocco has regressed after initially showing promise. Freedom of expression is at the lowest since the late 1990s, with independent voices shut out by campaigns of intimidation and libel lawsuits. Political life has been hijacked by a party run by the king's closest friend. Economic life is being suffocated by the palace, with the king's economic interests now harming entrepreneurship with its anti-competitive measures. There is also still no new constitution making Morocco into a real constitutional monarchy, with Muhammad VI effectively an absolute ruler. The Makhzen — the state and business elite that runs the country — acts with ever more impunity. Rule of law suffers, notably because people close to the royal family can get away with anything — including, a few years ago, shooting a police officer.  

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