May Day in Morocco is the celebrated the first day of May. This is a national holiday and its used for the Moroccan people to conduct protests – hopefully peaceful ones. Sometimes depended on the climate in Morocco – especially the economic climate- the protests can get ugly.
However in Taza the protests are something of a spectator sport. They start at 9 am in the morning and go till around 2pm at which point everything ends and people go home for lunch and enjoy the day off of work- unless they happen to be police or the gendarmes or even the Protection Civile – who are all on alert, active and watching the protesters.
I observed an uniformed officer recording the different chants that the different associations and parties were using. I asked my husband, ¨Why is he doing that?¨ My husband replied,¨ Because they could be saying bad things.¨ I guess free speech is not something supported in the same way it is in the US although it is not what it use to be either really. I did not try to ask what bad things meant because in Morocco that pretty much covers a wide swath of topics.
All of the groups protesting each had a Palestinian flag. The connection with the Palestinian people is strong among the Moroccan people given their history with the French.
I was surprised there was not more chanting about Syria but many Moroccans seem resigned to the situation and know that Morocco does not have the military power or the soft power influence to change the civil war going on in the country.
Syria is on the TV here all the time – its amazing how much more world news people in Morocco have access to than Americans do in America. That’s saying something.
Another thing is Moroccan’s are way more likely to get out and protest something they don’t like than American’s are – it’s quite eye-opening and I feel embarrassed to think how unproactive American’s are on so many important issues. When was the last time you got out and picketed a place for something that bothered you? Moroccans are all about protesting and I like it. It makes me want to get out and protest something – just to show solidarity if nothing else.
In the end we enjoyed wandering around and watching the excitement and then went home to relax away from the harsh heat of the day.