On May 16, youth and student activists held a vigil in the city of Khenifra, Morocco, to commemorate the forced disappearance and assassination of iconic youth leader Mustafa El Hamzaoui in 1993. Police tried to prevent the protesters from carrying their banners and chanting their slogans and violently attacked them when they continued with their mobilization.
#انزال قمعي رهيب و تدخلات همجية و ضرب و اصابات في صفوف المعطلين …في تخليد ذكرى الشهيد شهيد الجمعية الوطنية لحاملي الشهدات المعطلين بالمغرب..*مصطفى الحمزاوي.*.
Gepostet von Smail Smail am Donnerstag, 16. Mai 2019
Several protesters were taken to the hospital, including Khadija Aassil whose ankle was fractured by police violence. Aassil is a national leader of the Youth Sector of the Democratic Way, a Marxist party in Morocco, and a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights. The Democratic Way denounced the repression of the vigil as barbaric.
Every year, activists hold actions to remember the fighting spirit and struggle of Mustafa El Hamzaoui, an important figure in the contemporary Moroccan left. El Hamzaoui was a leader of the National Association of Unemployed Graduates in Morocco (ANDCM) and on May 16, 1993 was kidnapped, tortured and beaten. This led to his death at the police station in Khenifra. The truth behind his brutal assassination was never revealed and the struggle for truth in the case continues today. El Hamzaoui was an important leader in the struggle against unemployment, precariousness and social exclusion.
Today, 26 years after his death, unemployment, labor precarity and economic insecurity continue to be pressing issues in Morocco. According to the High Commission for Planning, at the end of 2017, the overall unemployment rate was 10.2% while the figure among young people aged 15-24 was 26.5% and for the urban population, the average unemployment was at 42.8%.
State repression and persecution of social and left movements is also still a central issue. Ironically, the recent repression was on a vigil commemorating a victim of state repression. What also remains true today is the will of the people and working class of Morocco to fight for their rights, for economic security and for deep transformations in society in the spite of this brutally repressive state.