5 Unemployed Moroccans Set Themselves Ablaze

Security forces had prevented them from bringing food to friends
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2012 1:03 PM CST
A Moroccan protester lies on ground covered with a blanket after setting himself on fire in a demonstration over unemployment in Rabat, Morocco, Jan. 18, 2011.   (AP Photo/Media Group Unemployed Graduates)

(Newser) – Five Moroccan protesters set themselves on fire today, after security forces prevented them from bringing food and water to fellow demonstrators. The men were part of the "unemployed graduates" movement that's swept Morocco, where unemployment is only 9.1% overall, but around 16% for college graduates, the AP explains. They'd been among about 160 protesters that had spent the past two weeks occupying a Ministry of Higher Education building in the capital of Ratbat.

Sympathizers had been bringing the protesters food and water, until security forces stopped them two days ago. "So five people went outside to get food and threatened to set themselves on fire if they were stopped," a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights explained. Sure enough, the security forces prevented them from re-entering, and they set themselves on fire. Three were wounded badly enough to be hospitalized, and two are in critical condition. (Read more Morocco stories.)

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