RABAT (Reuters) – Riot police broke up a protest by hundreds of Moroccans late on Friday against a royal pardon for a Spanish paedophile serving a 30-year sentence for raping and filming children as young as four.
In running clashes with the demonstrators, baton-wielding police prevented them from gathering in front of the Moroccan parliament in the centre of the capital Rabat, injuring several people including journalists.
The convicted paedophile is among 48 jailed Spaniards who were pardoned by King Mohamed VI on Tuesday at the request of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco last month.
“We are here to know who is responsible for that pardon. It is a shame, they are selling our children,” Najia Adib, president of Don’t Touch My Children association, told Reuters moments after she and her teenage daughter had been surrounded by riot police who struck them with batons.
The demonstration followed an online campaign by outraged activists. Protests were also reported in several other cities in the North African country.
Protesters demanded that the royal pardon be revoked and the Spaniard be brought back to jail. The government said the man had been expelled to Spain.