Morocco protest leader arrested: officials

Protestors crowd the streets during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in the northern city of al-Hoceima on May 28, 2017. (AFP)

Authorities in Morocco have arrested the fugitive leader of a protest movement that has shaken the country’s northern Rif region for six months, officials said on Monday.

Nasser Zefzafi, who had been on the run since Friday, was detained on Monday, said a government source and another official from the interior ministry.

Further details were not immediately available.

Morocco’s northern Rif region has been shaken by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger crushed in a rubbish truck as he protested against the seizure of swordfish caught out of season.

Calls for justice for Mouhcine Fikri, 31, evolved into a grassroots movement demanding jobs and economic development, with Zefzafi emerging as the leader of the Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or “Popular Movement”, based largely in the city of Al-Hoceima.

Zefzafi’s arrest was ordered after he on Friday allegedly interrupted a preacher at a mosque and called for further demonstrations.

Evening protests in Al-Hoceima followed on Friday and Saturday, with demonstrators clashing with police. Protesters gathered for a third night on Sunday but dispersed peacefully after being confronted by security forces.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49