News / Africa

Five Killed in Morocco Unrest

Protesters march during a protest in Rabat, Morocco, to demand a new constitution that would bring greater democracy in the North African kingdom, February 20, 2011
Protesters march during a protest in Rabat, Morocco, to demand a new constitution that would bring greater democracy in the North African kingdom, February 20, 2011

Morocco's interior minister says authorities have found five charred bodies in a burned bank after demonstrations erupted into unrest.

Taieb Cherkaoui told reporters Monday that officials recovered the burned bodies from a bank branch in the northern city of Al Hoceima following Sunday's violence there. He said that authorities believe rioters set the bank ablaze.

The interior minister said at least 128 people - mostly security force members - were injured during protests in several towns across Morocco.  He said about 37,000 Moroccans were involved in the demonstrations, and authorities arrested 120 people for vandalism and "troublemaking" during the unrest.

Anti-government activists in Morocco marched to demand political reforms limiting the power of King Mohammed - similar to protests elsewhere in the Arab world.

Organizers said they want democratic reforms to a constitution that gives King Mohammed sweeping powers, including the right to appoint the prime minister. The protesters made no direct criticisms of the king, however, 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.

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

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