Casablanca: Club wielding Moroccan police charged into a crowd of thousands of pro-democracy activists in the country's largest city to break up an anti-government protest.

A similar protest organized by the pro-reform February 20 movement, on Sunday in the capital's twin city of Sale, also was violently disrupted, as was a demonstration in front of Parliament a day earlier.

With a hand-picked commission set to recommend amendments to the constitution as part of King Mohammed VI's own reform process, authorities are showing no tolerance for demonstrations by activists.

"What we want is freedom, dignity and democracy, as well as a decent standard of living," said Omar, a civil servant who tried to take part in the Casablanca protests before it was dispersed.

"We want a democratic, popular constitution," he said, as opposed to one designed by appointees of the king, said Omar, who only gave his first name to protect his security as a government worker taking part in a pro-reform movement.

Phalanxes of police motorcycles cruised through the main roads and back streets of Casablanca's lower income Sbata neighborhood, scattering any attempts by the protesters to regroup.

Heavily armored riot police were also deployed throughout the neighborhood blocking streets to cars and discouraging people from congregating in large groups. There were no official reports of the number of injured.

 

(Agencies)