Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

Africa

Trade unions join reform protests for May Day marches

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-01

Moroccan trade unions took to the streets Sunday for May Day marches, adding their numbers to those of youth-led protesters who have been holding a sit-in to demand democratic reforms.

REUTERS - Trade unions in Morocco threw their weight on Sunday behind demands for reform confronting the Arab world's longest-serving dynasty and several thousand demonstrators marched through the streets.
 
Heavy rain may have kept some away, with turnout in the commercial capital Casablanca down on previous protests since February that have authorities concerned about a possible Egypt-style popular uprising.
 
But Sunday, Labour Day, marked the first time some of Morocco's trade unions have joined protests driven by the youth-led February 20 Movement and inspired by grassroots revolts in other parts of the Arab world.
 
They turned out despite a pledge by King Mohammed's government to increase public sector salaries and raise the minimum wage from May 1 -- the latest in a series of handouts from authorities anxious to prevent a spillover of popular revolt from other North African countries.
 
Protests in Tunisia that toppled veteran autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January gathered decisive momentum when trade unions got involved in a significant way.
 
Moroccan textile worker Mohamed Maadour complained that his comrades would only get half of the promised 10 percent increase to the minimum wage. "We don't understand why we are being singled out when the textile industry is the country's most lucrative and its biggest employer," he said.
 
Divergent goals
 
But divisions were evident and could yet weaken the call for change, with some unions distancing themselves from a February 20 Movement sit-in in the city.
 
"We are marching because we want to push for a social agenda that has nothing to do with the political agenda of the February 20 Movement," said Abdelhaq Tafnout of SNB, the banking employees union.
 
Only some 1,500 people affiliated with the independent UMT union, the country's largest, explicitly supported the sit-in and UMT's leading figures were absent.
 
The protesters' demands include a reduction in the king's political clout, a crackdown on corruption and the sacking of members of the monarch's inner circle whom they accuse of abuse of power and business malpractice.
 
King Mohammed has appointed a committee to reform the constitution in order to cede more powers, promised to make justice independent and freed some political prisoners.
 
Protesters said they would not be deterred by security fears after a bomb at a cafe in the tourist city of Marrakesh on Thursday killed 15 people, many of them foreign tourists.
 
"We understand that some prominent figures in the 'old' regime will want to use the attacks to stop this movement for change and reform, but they won't be able to," said Youssef Mezzi, an organiser of the February 20 Movement.
 
Protesters carried placards that read, "No to terrorism, yes to reform", and, "Oh Moroccans, the blasts are a charade."

Date created : 2011-05-01

  • MOROCCO

    Morocco's king visits site of deadly Marrakesh bombing

    Read more

  • MOROCCO

    Morocco investigates deadly Marrakesh blast

    Read more

  • MOROCCO

    Thousands stage peaceful pro-democracy protests

    Read more

COMMENT(S)