Coronavirus - Vaccination pass: demonstrations and arrests in major Moroccan cities

Eva Deschamps / November 1, 2021

Hundreds of protesters opposed to the anti-Covid vaccine pass demonstrated Sunday in Morocco's major cities following calls on social networks, according to local media and AFP.
In Rabat, the police dispersed an unauthorized sit-in that brought together several hundred protesters in the city center. Deployed in large numbers, the police, some in civilian clothes, proceeded to arrests, noted a journalist from AFP. Some young people also threw projectiles against the police at the end of the rally.  In Casablanca, the kingdom's economic capital, hundreds of protesters demonstrated against the pass, according to the Arabic-language news website al3omk. No to the pass.
 
The people want the pass to fall, the protesters chanted. In Tangier (north-west), the police prevented groups of a few dozen people from gathering to denounce the pass, said the site Goud.ma. Other demonstrations took place in Fez (northeast) and in the tourist city of Agadir (south), reported the Moroccan site Lakome2. However, it was not possible to quantify the total number of protesters, nor that of arrests. 
 
On October 21, Morocco launched an anti-Covid vaccine pass, the first in a North African country. All enclosed areas, including hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, gyms and hammams are now subject to the pass requirement. The pass is also required to access public, semi-public and private administrations, as well as to leave the kingdom or to travel between prefectures and provinces. While a large majority of the population approves of the vaccination, the mandatory nature of the pass to access public spaces has raised protests, especially on social networks.
 
An online petition has gathered tens of thousands of signatures, criticizing the arbitrary implementation of the health pass.  Morocco, where the curve of contaminations and deaths has been steadily decreasing for ten weeks, wants to immunize 80% of the population (30 million people). To date, more than 22 million Moroccans have received a second dose of the anti-Covid vaccine. In early October, the government accelerated its vaccination campaign for a third dose in view of the probable risk of a fourth wave. 
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