Mass protests have erupted across Moroccan cities on Tuesday after video footage showing young men raping a woman on a bus caused widespread outrage on social media.
A number of activists and civil society groups have also called for organized protests scheduled for Wednesday in several Moroccan cities such as Agadir, Casablanca and Rabat to denounce the growing phenomenon of rape in the country and demand solutions.
Zahra al-Faisawi, one of the activists who called for the demonstration said: “We cannot be silent about this terrible incident; the poor girl was taken advantage of. Furthermore, rape has become so redundant in Morocco that it is almost normal,” pointing out that “we all should unite against these phenomena to suppress them out of society so as not to ruin and rotten the moral level of Moroccans.”
The video, which Al Arabiya English has decided not to repost in this article given its graphic nature, led to the arrests of at least six men by Tuesday. The below video shows the arrest of a second suspect on Monday.
Al-Faisawi told Al Arabiya that “every day we hear about a new scandal. It is about time to start punishing the harassers and criminals and protect women from them by tightening the current sanctions. There are victims who are daily subjected to sexual harassment and rape, but they don’t come forward because they are afraid.”
The video appears to show three young men forcibly undressing the woman and forcing themselves on her while others cheered them on amid a burst of laughter and shouting. The woman could be head repeatedly resisting them while crying out loud for them to stop.
This incident has been widely condemned by Moroccans, especially after a recent surge in rape cases in the North African country and the rise in crime rates.
“What happened today in that city in Morocco can never be tolerated because it is a crime against humanity and society as a whole and it is a blatant violation of all Moroccan laws, as we have come to try to rape a mentally ill girl on a public transport bus,” a blogger from the city Salé said.
For his part, activist Nabil Yuba said that “the rise of rape crimes is due to the crisis of values and morals and the loss of state prestige”, while activist Samir Ghazi believes that “what is happening in Morocco is barbaric and savage”.
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddin Othmani said on Thursday that his government is working on a strategy to protect against sexual crimes in a "timely manner."