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Morocco Bans Protests Condemning Macron’s Visit to Israel

Moroccan authorities banned Tuesday, 24 October, protests in front of the French embassy and consulates following French President Emmanuel Macron’s unwavering support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

On Tuesday, the Moroccan Network to Support People, a local NGO, called on Moroccans to head to the French embassy and consulates in the country to voice condemnation of Paris’ position on the war.

In Rabat, dozens of police officers and auxiliary forces cornered the few activists who were first to arrive at the embassy and forcibly pushed them to a nearby ally. 

“What a shame, a peaceful (protest), and you banned it,” chanted the few activists holding on their Palestinian flags before they left the area helplessly.

The same scenario happened in Casablanca and Tangier, where protesters were prohibited near the French consulates.

The Moroccan Human Rights Council has condemned the “unlawful ban” and said it’s against the Moroccan constitution that grants the people the right to voice their positions peacefully.

The ban came as shocking for many activists as pro-Palestine protests have rallied freely in the country’s streets in the past days, including one in front of the American embassy.

Amid Paris and Rabat’s tense diplomatic brawl, some protesters did not expect to be violently pushed for merely criticising Paris – a move that Moroccan B-list officials and pro-state media have been proudly taking over the past months.

“This shows us what kind of system we are living under. A system subordinate to France and supporting Paris and Macron’s Zionism and crimes against the Palestinian people,” Taib Medmade, a member of the Moroccan Front against normalisation, told TNA.

Macron landed in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to discuss the security situation and meet the families of the French hostages. He is the latest Western leader to visit Israel, following counterparts from the US, UK, Germany and others.

Macron’s visit comes 16 days after Hamas members stormed into Israel, killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, including about 30 French citizens.

Tel Aviv has since relentlessly bombed Gaza, killing so far more than 5,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, while it prepares for a ground invasion of the blockaded area.

During his visit, Macron emphasised solidarity with Israel and suggested that the international coalition brought together to fight ISIL should be broadened to include the fight against the “terrorist group of Hamas.”

Rabat’s official position facing Israel’s war on Gaza has been disappointing for many who hoped for their diplomacy to correct its path and end the normalisation with Tel Aviv.

Following the 7 October events, Morocco’s official statement condemned violence on both sides with no nuance on the years-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. 

On 17 October, Rabat’s tone slightly changed after the widely reported Israeli strike on the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in Gaza. The Moroccan foreign minister condemned the deadly strike and blamed Israel despite Tel Aviv’s denial.

On the same day, Israeli diplomats left Morocco as angry anti-normalisation protesters roared in the Kingdom’s streets all night.

Moroccan pro-Palestine activists are vowing not to leave the streets until Rabat cuts off ties with Tel Aviv and revokes the normalisation.

Source: The New Arab