Fish seller’s death in a garbage truck sparks outrage in Morocco

Published October 30th, 2016 - 11:32 GMT
The young man earned his living as a fish seller (File)
The young man earned his living as a fish seller (File)

The death of a young fish-seller has sparked protest in the Moroccan town of Al Hoceima, evoking memories of the opening chapter of the Arab Spring.

Mohsen Fikri, 31, reportedly threw himself into a garbage truck after authorities confiscated the fish he was selling. He was crushed to death in the back of the vehicle. Other reports suggested he may have become involved in an altercation with authorities after they asked him to pay a bribe to continue trading in the port city, according to Al Araby. 

Photographs of the young man’s body quickly began circulating online fuelling protest and outrage, and photographs of protests, ongoing since Friday, suggest thousands have taken to the streets.  The hashtag #WeAreAllMohsenFikri became popular.

On Twitter, Moroccans expressed their anger at the death of the young man. 

Many commentators took particular issue with the behaviour of the rich and powerful, in and out of the government, that made it difficult for ordinary people to make a living.

Fishing mafias have special royal per villages to sell, fish or transport… Moroccan fisherman can not sell directly to Moroccan citizens.

Many tweeters said the police had been directly responsible for Fikri’s death – and had even ordered his killing – although the circumstances surrounding the incident are at present unclear.

In 2011, the “Arab Spring” began after Mohammed Bouazizi, a street seller in Tunisia, set himself alight following a dispute with police. In April this year a Moroccan street vendor self-immolated under similar circumstances and a 30-year-old Egyptian taxi driver set himself alight this month in protest at poor living conditions in Egypt.


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