Moroccan activists demand release of jailed colleagues


Scores of rights activists demonstrated in the capital Rabat on Monday to demand the release of colleagues detained during months of unrest in northern Morocco.

"The rally aims to draw attention to the status of jailed activists, especially those who have gone on hunger strike," Ahmed El Haij, the head of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH), which organized the protest, told Anadolu Agency.

Carrying pictures of some of the detainees, protestors chanted slogans calling for setting free activists, who have been rounded up by security forces during 11 months of protests in the northern Rif region.

The unrest was triggered by the death of a local fishmonger, who died after being crushed by a refuse truck in the flashpoint city of Al-Hoceima in October.

According to activists, more than 200 people have been detained in the area.

El Haij said the situation of the detainees "was worrying rights activists in Morocco".

Inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011, protesters staged rallies over unemployment, judicial reforms and other freedoms.

According to Morocco's state-run High Commission for Planning, the national unemployment rate stood at 9.3 percent for the second quarter of this year -- up from 9.1 percent in the same period last year.

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