Trade unions lend weight to Morocco's reform movement

May 1, 2011 18:49


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CASABLANCA, Morocco - Trade unions in Morocco threw their weight on Sunday behind demands for reform confronting the Arab world's longest-serving dynasty and several thousand demonstrators marched through the streets.

Heavy rain may have kept some away, with turnout in the commercial capital Casablanca down on previous protests since February that have authorities concerned about a possible Egypt-style popular uprising.But Sunday, Labor Day, marked the first time some of Morocco's trade unions have joined protests driven by the youth-led February 20 Movement and inspired by grassroots revolts in other parts of the Arab world.

They turned out despite a pledge by King Mohammed's government to increase public sector salaries and raise the minimum wage from May 1 -- the latest in a series of handouts from authorities anxious to prevent a spillover of popular revolt from other North African countries.

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