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Ouarzazate Court Puts Minors on Probation Over Zagora Thirst Protests

Rabat – After two underage demonstrators in Zagora’s “thirst protests” were acquitted on November 18, Ouarzazate’s court of Appeal sentenced the two minors each to a one-year suspended jail term, reported Moroccan daily Al Massae.The newspaper reported that a 16-year-old and 15-year-old protesters have been sentenced to jail on Monday for their “participation in an unauthorized demonstration” and for throwing stones at security elements.The court has jailed in November five demonstrators over thirst protests that took place in October in the southern Moroccan southern city. The first was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, while four other protesters were sentenced to two months in jail for eachand a fine of MAD 500. At the time, the court cleared the underage suspects who have now been re-sentenced.The court’s decision to jail the minors reportedly took the protesters’ defense by surprise.The two underage suspects left Zagora’s detention center after spending more than one month in custody, reported the newspaper.Al Massae added that a group of 12 people were released on Friday after they served their sentences.On September 24, a group of people took to Zagora’s parched streets to demand access to clean drinking water. The police then intervened to disperse the manifestation and arrested 23 people, seven of whom were prosecuted for “participating in an unauthorized demonstration,” according to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).On October 8, residents of Zagora flocked to the streets of the city once more in a peaceful march, carrying Moroccan flags and portraits of King Mohammed VI to denounce water shortage in their town as well as in the surrounding regions.Authorities then moved to the area to intervene, stalking small crowds in the alleys of the city to prevent improvised demonstrations.Protesters then allegedly started assaulting security officials, throwing projectiles at them, lighting firecrackers, and setting up barricades to prevent security vehicles from advancing into the city’s neighborhoods.


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