Hundreds of Moroccans took to the streets of a city near the epicenter of the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country last month to protest against the slow emergency response by authorities, the Associated Press reported.
The protest took place in Amizmiz near the High Atlas mountain range, a town that saw entire neighborhoods leveled during the Sept. 8 earthquake. Nearly every citizen in Amizmiz lost a relative or a friend in the 6.8-magnitude quake.
Organizers said the demonstrations were aimed at drawing attention to the “negligence by local and regional officials,” and criticizing how some residents have been excluded from emergency aid.
Demonstrators expressed concerns about the dire conditions in temporary camps, delayed financial assistance, and the need for dignity and justice, highlighting years of marginalization.
They also chanted the name of the country’s ruler, King Mohammed VI, and urged him to visit the town and assess the situation.
In the earthquake’s aftermath, Morocco established a commission and a special recovery fund. The government began providing initial monthly payments of around $240 and planned to offer up to $13,600 to rebuild destroyed homes.
However, many residents claimed they had not yet received emergency cash assistance, sparking worries about shelter as winter approaches in the mountains.
The protests follow criticism leveled at Morocco for initially accepting limited foreign aid after the earthquake, with officials saying they needed to alleviate logistical challenges during a critical period for emergency response.
International search and rescue teams expressed frustration at their inability to enter the country to assist.