A 31-year-old fish vendor in Morocco died an awful death last week, and protests demanding a full accounting of police actions are only gaining steam. While some key details remain unclear, this much is known: Police stopped Mouhcine Fikri and two companions in a vehicle on Friday with about $11,000 worth of illegal swordfish, a protected species in the country, reports the Guardian. Officers summoned a trash compactor to the scene to destroy the fish, and grainy cellphone video shot by a witness shows Fikri and his two friends in the back of the truck trying to salvage their fish. At that point, the compactor starts up, and while his two friends managed to jump to safety, Fikri ended up crushed to death.
Large protests took place over the weekend and on Monday, and protesters vow to continue until those responsible are held accountable, reports Al Jazeera. King Mohammed VI has demanded an investigation, and given that the Arab Spring protests in 2010 started over the death of a fruit vendor, the Moroccan protests have become what the New York Times calls a "volatile and potent symbol." Hashtags such as "Grind the people" are trending on social media, and rumors are flying: Local media reports say one witness heard an officer order the compactor started in order to scare away people beginning to gather around the truck, but the exact circumstances of who started it up and why remain unclear.