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Five Dead in Violence After Morocco Demos, Minister Says

Published on Tuesday 22nd February 2011 Five Dead in Violence After Morocco Demos, Minister Says

Five bodies were found in a bank set on fire during unrest that erupted after demonstrations in Morocco on the weekend, the government said Monday.

The "burned bodies of five people were recovered inside one of the bank branches set alight by rioters in the city of Al Hoceima," Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui told reporters.

Cherkaoui said another 128 people, including 115 members of security forces, were injured, and 120 were arrested in violence that followed Sunday's mostly peaceful demonstrations.

Protestors in several Moroccan cities called for political reform and limits on the powers of King Mohammed VI.

The minister blamed the violence on rioters and ex-convicts, saying they had damaged or set fire to 33 public buildings, 24 banks, 50 businesses or private buildings and 66 vehicles.

Witnesses said police used tear gas against protesters in Al Hoceima after they set fire to cars and threw stones at a police station.

Communication Minister Khalid Naciri vowed that the government would speed up reforms in the wake of the protests.

"Moroccan democracy is maturing. At a time when demonstrators in other Arab countries are met with violence, in Morocco they face institutional and political serenity," he added.

He stressed that the message of the demonstrators "had been heard" by authorities.

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