News / Africa

Morocco's February 20 Movement to Protest King's Reform Plan

Moroccan customers at a cafe in Casablanca watch a live broadcast from Rabat of a speech by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, June 17, 2011
Moroccan customers at a cafe in Casablanca watch a live broadcast from Rabat of a speech by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, June 17, 2011

Morocco's youth-based February 20 Movement is calling for a nationwide protest Sunday, saying King Mohammed's plan to limit his power does not go far enough.

The pro-reform group said Saturday the monarch's proposal does not meet its "demands for a true separation of powers."  The February 20 Movement - named for the date its demonstrations began - said it would "protest peacefully."

On Friday, King Mohammed promised reforms that would limit his power through a series of constitutional changes.

The king announced the proposals in a televised address. Moroccans will be able to vote next month in a referendum on the changes, which would strengthen the office of prime minister and the parliament.  But the king would retain exclusive control in religious and military matters, and would choose the prime minister from the party that won elections.

The speech was met with cheers, honks, and flag-waving from Moroccans driving through the streets of the capital, Rabat.

The king's speech comes in response to nationwide pro-reform demonstrations in recent months inspired by popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Protesters have been demanding improved civil rights and an end to corruption.  

The proposals were crafted by a reform panel appointed by the king in March.

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

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