Sunday, February 20, 2011, was chosen for a nationwide, non-violent demonstration to be held in all Moroccan cities. The date marks the start of the pro-democracy movement in Morocco.
Thousands took to the streets of Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Marrakech in peaceful protests demanding a new constitution, a change in government and an end to corruption. During a march on Hassan II Avenue in the capital, Rabat, demonstrators demanded a new constitution to bring more democracy to the country. They shouted slogans calling for economic opportunity, education reform, better health services, and help in coping with the rising cost of living.
Veteran blogger Larbi wrote in French:
Le mouvement du 20 février a donné beaucoup de gages aux autorités marocaines. Charge au pouvoir marocain de ne pas être sourd et aveugle, de se montrer responsable et de répondre aux aspirations légitimes des manifestants. A chacun de prendre ses responsabilités. Et aujourd’hui le sens de responsabilité se place du côté des manifestants pas du côté du pouvoir marocain.
Translation:The Moroccan regime must not be blind and deaf, it has to be responsible and meet the legitimate aspirations of the demonstrators. Each side needs to take its own responsibility. And today the sense of responsibility is on the side of the demonstrators not the power.
For activists, the announced reforms did not accomplish all they wanted. They released a new video announcing a “week of action and community service to raise awareness about public service shortcomings.”
A new clip was then posted on the internet calling for a mass protest on March 20. The video generated large response and a record number of protesters took to the streets in virtually every city and town across Morocco.
March 13, several hundred demonstrators gathered in Casablanca demanding reforms. Riot police broke up the rally with batons, injuring dozens in what was described as the most violent intervention since the start of the protests.
March 20, an estimated 35,000 citizens in more than 60 cities across the country demand more political changes than those announced by King Mohammed in his 9 March address. Others protesters want to insure the reforms come about and feel it necessary to continue pressuring the King. The police do not intervene and no violent acts were reported.
April 24, thousands of people protested across Morocco, demanding an end to corruption, an independent judiciary system, constitutional reforms, legislative elections and more jobs for university graduates.
May 8, thousands of Moroccans marched in Marrakesh to demand reforms and express their opposition towards terrorist attacks.
May 22, Moroccan police chases hundreds of pro-democracy activists through the streets of Rabat in an effort to prevent demonstrations. The government appeared to be implementing a new zero tolerance policy for protesters.
June 5, nearly 60,000 protesters convened in Rabat and Casablanca to demonstrate. Many carried a picture of Kamal Amari who died from police brutality. The death highlighted escalating police brutality directed at demonstrators.
June 17, the King gives a second speech outlining the Constitutional reforms.
November 2011, elections are held on the new basis of the constitution.