More than 7,000 protest Iraq war in Morocco

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sun Jan 12 16:02:57 MST 2003

Reuters (with additional material by AP). 12 January 2003. Thousands
protest in Morocco against possible war on Iraq.

RABAT -- Thousands of Moroccans, some chanting "George Bush assassin"
and waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags, protested Sunday in the capital
Rabat against a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Protesters chanted, "George Bush assassin! Tony Blair is his dog," a
reference to the British prime minister's support for the American
president's campaign to rid Iraq of alleged mass destruction weapons.

They also burned American flags, waved portraits of Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein and shouted "George Bush, we hope you get an eleventh of
September every year!" Protesters also called for a boycott of American

Moderate Muslim-Arab Morocco's monarchical government rarely allows mass
demonstrations for fear they will spill over into unrest. Sunday's
protest drew an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 marchers and snaked up an
avenue in the city center, until the protest broke up under rain after
about three hours.

The demonstration was organized by a pro-Iraq grouping of political
parties, trade unions and associations, many linked to Morocco's
increasingly popular Islamic movement. One organizer, Khalid Soufiani,
claimed that at least 30,000 people protested.

"We are demonstrating against an imperialist and colonial war executed
in an arbitrary manner to exploit Iraqi oil," charged Amine Abdelhamid,
chairman of the Moroccan Human Rights Association.

"We're also protesting for our Palestinian brothers who, like the
Iraqis, are victims of American government policies dictated by the
Jewish lobby," said Mohamed Moujrib, 37, a university professor and
supporter of an Islamic party that tripled its seats in parliament's
lower house in elections last September.

Islamic groups and politicians claim that U.S. war planners are
motivated by a desire to get Iraqi oil, not fears of Saddam's weapons.

They vehemently oppose a U.S. attack, particularly when Washington has
failed to stay Israel's hand in the Palestinian territories.

"America is terrorist," read one banner. "No to war, yes to peace,"
"Bush, we know you, your father was a killer too," said others, as
demonstrators marched behind a huge Iraqi flag.

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