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February 19, 2011

2,000 March in Moroccan Capital to Demand Political Reforms

Anti-government activists in Morocco have marched to demand political reforms limiting the power of King Mohammed - the latest in a series of such protests in the Arab world.

At least 2,000 people rallied in the capital, Rabat, Sunday, answering a protest call issued on social networking site Facebook. Marchers shouted slogans demanding a new constitution, greater economic opportunities and a crackdown on corruption.

Some plainclothes police mingled with the demonstrators while uniformed officers kept their distance. The protest were peaceful as of midday.

Organizers say they want democratic reforms to a constitution that gives King Mohammed sweeping powers, including the right to appoint the prime minister. But, the protesters made no direct criticisms of the king, who has earned a reputation as a reformist since ascending to the throne in 1999.

The Moroccan government has portrayed the new protest movement as a sign of the country's political openness.

One Moroccan youth movement said Saturday it was pulling out of the Rabat rally due to the inclusion of Islamist and leftist groups among the protesters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.