Morocco arrests 11 over fish seller's death

AFP , Tuesday 1 Nov 2016

Protesters shout slogans in the northern city of Al Hoceima on October 30, 2016, following the death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed to death on October 28 in a rubbish truck in Al Hoceima, as he reportedly tried to protest against a municipal worker seizing and destroying his wares. (Photo AFP)

Morocco has arrested 11 people over the death of a fish seller whose crushing in a rubbish truck sparked widespread demonstrations, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The suspects, who include fisheries and veterinary officials, have been brought before an investigating magistrate in connection with allegations of involuntary manslaughter and forgery of public documents, a statement said.

Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was accidentally crushed to death on Friday in the northern city of Al-Hoceima as he reportedly tried to protest against authorities seizing and destroying his wares.

More than 20 people have been questioned during the investigation into the incident, according to the prosecution statement carried by the official MAP news agency.

The probe found that the driver had received a signal from a rubbish collection worker to turn the crusher power on while Fikri was in the truck with several people trying to prevent fish being loaded.

His death in the Rif -- an ethnically Berber region long neglected under the former king and at the heart of a 2011 protest movement for reform -- has triggered outrage in other cities including the capital Rabat.

It was the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia in late 2010 in protest at police harassment that sparked Tunisia's revolution and the Arab Spring uprisings across the rest of the region the following year.

Thousands attended Fikri's funeral in Al-Hoceima on Sunday after an image of his inert body -- head and arm sticking out from under the lorry's crusher -- went viral on social media.

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