Fear of “bread riots” challenged by Moroccan bakers' strike
Bakeries in Morocco will not be stocked today as a 48-hour strike continues across the nation in protest to stagnant bread prices. The government has left prices untouched since the 1981 bloody “bread riots.”
The Moroccan bakers’ union has closed shop for two days in response to the state's refusal to regulate the price of bread. The union was asked by the government last October to cancel a 10 percent price hike; a measure producers say is necessary to compensate for the rise in cost of other products such as yeast and sugar. A loaf of bread in the Arab state costs 1.1 Moroccan dirhams ($.12).
The government’s request to halt the plans was most likely influenced by fears of another large-scale uprising. Demonstrators protesting a decision in 1981 to increase the price of bread were violently repressed by the state.
According to official figures, some 29 people were killed during the riots, however, human rights groups argue that up to 500 were murdered and buried in mass graves.
A similar uprising erupted in Egypt in 1977 when the government attempted to slash bread subsidies. Due to the state’s explicit mandate to ensure access to basic food supplies for its entire population, locals do not tolerate increases in the price of food staples. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)