Morocco: street vendor sets himself on fire after arrest

Portrait of Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid in 2010 leading to the start of the revolution in Tunisia (illustration photo) © RFI / Michel Picard

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A street vendor who dies after setting himself on fire.

It was one of the triggers, at the end of 2010, of the Tunisian Revolution.

The symbol remains strong in the Maghreb even if the situation is not the same, which is what happened in any case on Friday August 6 in Morocco.

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Yassine Lekhmidi, street trader succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Casablanca.

It is in the small town of Sidi Bennour, between Marrakech and Casablanca that the 25-year-old young man made his gesture.

His family puts forward several reasons.

It was first for non-compliance with wearing a mask that the young street vendor, Yassine Lekhmidi was arrested and assaulted by the police on Tuesday, July 27.

At the same time, his cart, his only source of income, is also confiscated.

But the next day, after his release, the authorities refused to give him back his work tool.

It was after this that he set himself on fire in protest.

Not an isolated case

The day following his death, late Saturday, a demonstration brought together several hundred angry people in the small town 120 km west of Casablanca.

The crowd shouted slogans like “ 

Yassine gave us a warning.

We are not going to give up on the cause

. ”

Lekhmidi's act is not an isolated case.

The country has indeed experienced in recent years, several cases of immolation by fire.

Ultimate gestures of protest from people working mostly in informal activities.

A precarious sector, which represents 30% of the country's gross domestic product, according to estimates by the central bank of Morocco.

This event recalls the immolation, in December 2010, of

Mohammed Bouazizi

, a Tunisian street vendor following the confiscation of his cart.

An act later qualified as the trigger for the

Arab Spring

.

If the authorities have not yet reacted, the family of Yassine Lekhmidi is calling for the opening of an investigation.

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