Morocco bans demonstrations in restive eastern province
Rabat March 14 (IANS/MAP) The Moroccan authorities have decided to ban demonstrations in the restive eastern province of Jerada which has been witnessing protests since last December.
The eastern province has seen a wave of protests since last December following the death of three miners while they were digging in abandoned mines.
The protestors called for justice for the dead and demanded job opportunities and "economic alternatives".
"The Interior Ministry stressed its right to enforce the law in the city of Jerada by banning illegal demonstrations on public roads and responding firmly to irresponsible acts and behaviours with a view to preserving security and protecting the interests of citizens " the Moroccan Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Ministry said that despite efforts to address the problems raised in the province of Jerada some parties persist in undermining these efforts by trying to exploit the legitimate demands expressed and inciting the population to protest without any respect for established laws which disrupts normal life in the region.
In its efforts to address the problems raised in the province of Jerada the government has showed a positive interaction with all social and economic demands expressed by all local stakeholders the statement said.
It added that dialogue with them has led to the operational and concrete measures in several priority sectors.
Jerada had been growing during flourishing mining activities since 1920s but it suffered a major blow in late 1990s after state-owned coal mines that employed thousands of local people were forced to close down due to rising digging costs and declining coal prices.
However many local residents continued illegal mining in the abandoned mines.