Water cannon disperses protesting Moroccan teachers

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Moroccan police used water cannons to disperse a protest by thousands of young teachers in Rabat according to witnesses.

Around 65 protesters were injured, said Abdelwahab Ghallat, a protest organiser. “One teacher was seriously wounded,” he said.

Authorities could not be reached for comment.

Teachers have staged a series of protests and strikes to demand an end to renewable contracts in favour of permanent jobs with civil service benefits, including a better retirement pension.

Protesters arrived from several parts of the kingdom and tried to camp out in front of parliament until police dispersed then, witnesses said.

Education Minister Said Amzazi threatened to sack teachers if they do not return to classrooms, saying the strike has affected seven percent of Morocco’s seven million students.

Morocco, which avoided the turmoil in other countries during and after the 2011 Arab Spring, regularly has protests though they rarely involve confrontations with police.

Some 55,000 teachers out of 240,000 are hired on renewable contracts by regional education delegations since 2016 to address overcrowding in rural classrooms.

Morocco increased its education budget by 5.4 billion dirhams ($558.4 million) in 2019 to 68 billion dirhams to boost access and improve infrastructure notably in difficult to reach areas.