Thousands mourn Morocco fishmonger crushed in rubbish truck

Thousands mourn Morocco fishmonger crushed in rubbish truck

Thousands mourn Morocco fishmonger crushed in rubbish truck Thousands of Moroccans Oct. 30 attended the funeral of a fishmonger whose gruesome death in a rubbish truck crusher has caused outrage across the North African country, with authorities vowing to punish those responsible.

Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed to death on Oct. 28 in the truck in the northern city of Al-Hoceima as he reportedly tried to protest against a municipal worker seizing and destroying his wares, AFP reported.

An image of his inert body - head and arm sticking out from under the lorry’s crushing mechanism - went viral on social media, sparking calls for protests nationwide including in the capital Rabat.

Footage online showed thousands of people following the yellow ambulance that carried Fikri’s body through Al-Hoceima in the ethnically Berber Rif region on Oct. 30.

Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad condemned the incident and vowed that an investigation would be held to “determine the exact circumstances of the tragedy and punish those responsible.” 

“No one had the right to treat him like this.... We cannot accept officials acting in haste, anger or in conditions that do not respect people’s rights,” he told AFP.

The funeral procession was led by a dozen drivers in their cars - including taxis - and marchers waving Berber flags.

The ambulance headed to the area of Imzouren some 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the city, where Fikri was buried in the late afternoon.

The circumstances of his death remained unclear.

But a human rights activist told AFP that the authorities forced the fishmonger to destroy several boxes of swordfish. Catching swordfish using driftnets is illegal.

“The goods were worth a lot of money,” said Fassal Aoussar from the local branch of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH).

“The salesman threw himself in after his fish and was crushed by the machine,” he said.

“The whole of the Rif is in shock and boiling over.”