POLICE BRUTALITY IN MOROCCO
These shocking scenes come from the Moroccan port of Sidi Ifni: in June there was a demonstration there by local youths against high levels of unemployment in the town. The protests were further inflamed by reports of police brutality earlier in the year, and led to a violent confrontation between the demonstrators and the police. In the last few days, violence has flared up again. Basically, the town has been marginalised since its independence from the Spanish in 1969, with recent controversy sparked by the creation of a new port, almost exclusively staffed and fished by non-local fishermen. This has caused widespread resentment in an area already considerably impoverished by lack of interest and development from the Moroccan government. Allegations of police brutality, including destruction of property, sexual assault against members of the public, vicious beatings and numerous false arrests abound.
These incidents have been largely unreported by the mainstream western media, although Al Jazeera have covered it. This kind of state-enforced police action does nothing but inflame the tensions felt by an angry, increasingly radicalised youth. By not punishing the officers involved, Morocco risks further mob retaliation: a worrying trend in a country that is keen to maintain good relations with western states, and relies to some degree on its' tourist economy. One can only hope that the Moroccan authorities are able to address both the unacceptable police action, and the widespread economic hardship faced by the youth of Sidi Ifni, and Morocco at large.