Thousands Demand More Reform In Morocco

Posted June 19th, 2011 at 6:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Morocco's largest city, Casablanca, to protest constitutional reforms unveiled last week by King Mohammed. Protesters say the reforms have not gone far enough.

The monarch unveiled a series of proposed changes Friday that would limit his power through a series of constitutional amendments. The move came after pro-democracy protests swept Morocco in February.

In a televised address, King Mohammed promised that Moroccans will vote next month in a referendum on the changes, which would strengthen the office of prime minister and the parliament. The king would choose the prime minister from the party that won elections and would retain exclusive control in religious and military matters.

The country's youth-based February 20 Movement called Saturday for nationwide protests, criticizing the reform proposal for not meeting “demands for a true separation of powers.”

The 47-year-old monarch, who took over the Arab world's longest-serving dynasty in 1999, currently holds virtually all power in the Muslim north African country. He is also its top religious authority as the Commander of the Faithful.