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Moroccan authorities relentlessly targeting 20 February movement

On 1 June 2014, Moroccan security forces violently dispersed protests organised by the 20 February movement calling for the release of detainees belonging to the movement, a move that has been denounced by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

The protests were organised in Beni Mellal city in solidarity with the families of those arrested on 6 April. The detainees had been participating in a workers' march to object to the government's economic policies and to demand that all detainees be released. Security forces responded by banning the protest and surrounding protesters. Their violent interference led to the injury of five people, including Khaled Bourque, head of the Milafat Tadla website. Those injured had to be taken to the hospital.

On 22 May, the Court of First Instance in Ain Sebaa issued its ruling to jail those activists arrested on 6 April to one year in jail. The court also sentenced several other youth activists to six months in prison, while two members of the movement were sentenced to two months in prison. Only one detainee was acquitted.

"The shutting down of the protest organized by 20 February movement activists is a continuation of the arbitrary practices adopted by Moroccan security forces against activists and dissidents to silence them. This act also appears as a clear indicator of their tendency to impose further restrictions on freedom of expression," said ANHRI.

ANHRI urges the authorities in Morocco to drop all cases against the 20 February movement's detainees and to halt the use of violence in the face of peaceful demonstration. It also demands the discontinuation of targeting activists and dissidents against the backdrop of their peacefully opposing activities.

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