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Jaradah authorities interview protesters after arrests and trials

Local authorities in Jaradah, eastern Morocco, will hold a dialogue session at the provincial headquarters on Wednesday with a number of activists on the situation in the city.

Since December 22, 2017, Jaradah has witnessed protests over the deaths of two brothers in a random coal mine. Protesters called for development, jobs and ending marginalization.

The dialogue session will be the first of its kind since clashes broke out between protesters and security forces on March 14, leaving two wounded on both sides. One protest activist, Mohammed al-Fayazqi, said the residents of Jaradah had set up neighborhood-level committees of four people from each neighborhood.

The activists proposed a few days ago an initiative to mediate between protesters and authorities demanding a halt to the protests in exchange for security men pulling out of the streets. The activist stressed that the dialogue will address the general situation in the city, the file of detainees against the backdrop of protests, and the social and economic demands of the population.

Government promises
The government promised to respond to the demands of the inhabitants of Jaradah, allocated three thousand hectares for agricultural investment, and a thousand hectares for young people who have projects in the agricultural sector. The Ministry of Energy and Mining has also withdrawn coal mining licenses from former exploiters and granted new licenses to three cooperatives established by operators in the field for the extraction and marketing of coal.

The dialogue session comes hours after a court of first instance in Oujda, near Jaradah, handed down sentences ranging from 10 to 18 months for three activists who participated in the protests in Jarada (east) due to charges related to a traffic accident. A fourth activist was also convicted of six months in prison on charges of “insulting public officials.”

Activists stopped mid-March, sparking protests in the city. While the authorities claimed for their part that the arrest of the four had nothing to do with the movement of protests in Jaradah.
Source: Alandol Agency

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