Peaceful demonstrations staged in Morocco but violence breaks out elsewhere in the Middle East and Chinese police crackdown on planned unrestMorocco: Peaceful protests against prime minister
© Abdeljalil Bounhar/APProtesters march in Rabat, Morocco to demand a new constitution that would bring greater democracy and an end to corruption.
Thousands took to the streets of Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Marrakech in peaceful protests demanding a new constitution, a change in government and an end to corruption.
Sunday's protests were a test for King Mohamed VI's regime, which boasts that it is more liberal and tolerant than other countries in the region that have seen violence and revolution.
Despite a heavy secret police presence, uniformed police stayed in the background as demonstrators carefully avoided overt criticism of the king or Islamist chanting. "Where has the money gone?", "The people of Morocco want change" and "We need a new constitution" were among the cries of 5,000 marchers in the capital, Rabat.
"The atmosphere today is peaceful, as it is in our Moroccan nature to be peaceful," a 50-year-old doctor, Mohamed Bebakri, said.
Said Benjibli, the creator of Facebook protest group and one of the few prepared to complain about the monarch, said: "The king has too much power and he needs to distribute more money to the people." Much of the rage was directed against prime minister Abbas El Fassi and his many family members in government posts.