Thousands of teachers attacked by riot police in Morocco
21 February 2019
Thousands of teachers in Morocco were attacked by government security forces Wednesday as they demonstrated for higher pay and greater job security in the capital city of Rabat. Hundreds were injured after police opened fire with water cannon and waded into crowds swinging their batons.
The demonstration was held as part of a general strike by Moroccan workers to commemorate protests that broke out in the country eight years ago, on February 20, 2011.
The police opened fire with water cannon and charged the protesters when they approached the Royal Palace of King Mohammed VI. Dozens of teachers were taken by ambulances to local hospitals after they had been beaten to the ground in the police charges.
The public-school teachers marched through the capital city to protest fixed-term contracts—a form of contract labor—first imposed by the government in 2016. Many wore white robes, the traditional garb of teachers, and carried hand-made signs with both workplace grievances and political slogans. The contract workers receive no health benefits or pensions, and they earn an average of $454 a month (about 400 euros).
Teacher Naima Kalaii told Agence France Presse, “We are doing a peaceful march, but unfortunately, the police are cracking down on us. Teachers are falling to the ground. Teachers are being insulted. Our message is education. Stop the injustice.”
Demonstrators carried banners reading, “No to the dismantling of public schools” and “I’m a Teacher, I earn 400€ a month,” but they also displayed political signs and chanted slogans against the brutal monarchical regime,…