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Moroccan police clash with protesters

RABAT (Reuters) - Protesters marking the anniversary of the death of an anti-colonial herohave clashed with policein northernMorocco,in violencewhichauthorities saidleft27 officers injured.

Hundreds took to the streets on Sunday nightand in the early hours of Mondayinthe city ofAl-Hoceima and other towns of the Rif region, long seen as a hotbed of dissent.

Thousands protested inAl-Hoceimain Octoberagainst corruption and official abuses after a fishmonger was crushed to death inside a garbage truck as he tried to retrieve fish confiscated by police.

The region was home to Mohammed Ben Abdelkerim El-Khattabi, who fought against Spanish and French occupation in the 1920sand wasseen asan opponentofthe ruling elite.Hedied in exile in Egypt on Feb.6, 1963.

Activists said policeused tear gas and rubber bullets against protestersin the latest unrest, injuring some.

Police denied it andsaid 27 officers were wounded by stonesthrown by protestersand were treated in hospital.Authoritiesmade no arrests, they said.Reuters could not independently confirm the accounts.

Activists shared videos on social media showing riot policewith batonschasing protestersandthrowingstonesback at themin Boukidaren,near Al-Hoceima.

“After a group of people organized a sit-in in the town of Boukidaren without meeting the required legal conditions and blocked roads, authorities intervened to disperse the gathering in full respect of the law to reestablish flow of traffic,”apolice statement said.

Moroccan authorities heavily police protests, nervous over popular unrest since the 2011 Arab Spring-style protests across the region.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Patrick Markey and Andrew Roche)

 

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