Migrants in Casablanca have clashed with police during an attempt to remove them from a makeshift camp. Witnesses claim that authorities "often attack" sub-Saharan migrants "to get rid of them".
Local media reported on Monday (January 16) that migrants threw stones injuring a police officer and damaging vehicles during an operation to remove them from a camp on the outskirts of Casablanca.
Police questioned six people from sub-Saharan Africa following the incident, AFP reports.
Morocco is a transit country for many migrants, especially sub-Saharan Africans, who set off from the Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts in an attempt to reach Europe.
Many migrants also settle in Morocco, which has conducted two major regularization campaigns, granting residency to tens of thousands of undocumented sub-Saharan African migrants.
Also read: Sub-Saharan Africans trade Europe for Morocco
A large number still live in the Ouled Ziane camp on the edge of Casablanca, the scene of violent incidents in recent years as police have attempted to dismantle it. Witnesses have told the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), a group supporting migrants, that authorities "often attack [the sub-Saharan migrants] to get rid of them."
In June 2019, the camp was devastated by fire, and many of the residents were hospitalized.
AFP was unable to obtain confirmation from police about the latest reported incidents.
According to a news website, Hespress, migrants "threw stones at public security agents" who were trying to clear the camp. The public broadcaster SNRT reported that one officer had been injured and five police vehicles were damaged. Images on social media showed people throwing stones and police officers being chased, AFP reported.
But in a Facebook post, AMDH condemned what is said was police violence during the operation and accused authorities of sending "back to Casablanca" migrants apprehended in other regions of Morocco.
In a social media video posted by AMDH which appears to have been filmed at the camp, one migrant complains of being denied access to toilets. "There is nothing to eat, it is difficult to live," he says, adding, "We're not saying the Moroccans are racist, but their behavior is making us believe they are racist."