Moroccan vs. Libyan Unrest

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Difference between Moroccan Unrest and Libyan Unrest

The Middle East and Africa is currently in a state of turmoil, as evidenced by the recent occurrences in Egypt and Tunisia. More alarming still is the fact that other countries in the region are similarly threatened, and the Moroccan unrest and the Libya unrest are clear signs that significant changes are afoot. In this comparison article, we take a look at the key characteristics of both uprisings.

Moroccan Unrest
Libyan Unrest


The Moroccan unrest that occurred in 2011 was marked by a string of demonstrations across the country. Beginning on February 20, 2011, the unrest was seen by many to be influenced by other similar protest movements in the region.

The Libya unrest of 2011 was also marked by numerous protests and confrontations all over the North African country. Much of its focus was against the 42-year long rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Among its aims are the ouster of Gaddafi, and the holding of democratic elections.


The Moroccan unrest began on February 20, 2011, when thousands of residents gathered in the Moroccan capital of Rabat. Among the crowd's demands was a reduction of some of the powers of the country's ruler, King Mohammed, the dismantling of autocracy, and changes to the Moroccan constitution. While police initially permitted the crowd to gather and to march towards parliament, Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar did try to dissuade people from joining in. At the same time, similar protests were launched in Casablanca and Marrakesh, with reports of widespread looting and public disorder coming in from Tangier and Marrakesh, as well as other cities.

The Libya unrest began on February 15, 2011, and quickly grew in scope and number in a few days. By the end of the month, the protests had escalated into a full-blown uprising, and the country was considered to be on the verge of civil war.



On March 9, 2011 King Mohammed VI made a live televised address in which he announced moves toward a comprehensive reform of the Moroccan constitution. He also pledged to improve the state of democracy and the rule of law in the country, and emphasized his commitment to the reforms taking place in Morocco. In line with these goals, the King announced the establishment of a commission to tackle constitutional issues, with a referendum to be held prior to its drafting.

At present, Libya remains under Gaddafi's rule, and his forces–led by the heavily-armed Khamis Brigade–maintain control of Tripoli, Sirt, Zliten, Sabha, and many other major towns. Other military and police units in the country remain loyal to Gaddafi, although several active and retired military personnel have since sided with the protesters.

Similarities and Differences

Moroccan unrest

  • Began on February 20, 2011
  • Marked by a string of demonstrations across the country
  • Among the crowd's demands was a reduction of the powers of King Mohammed, the dismantling of autocracy, and changes to the Moroccan constitution

Libya unrest

  • Began on February 15, 2011
  • Quickly grew in scope and number in a few days
  • Violence against protesters has been reported daily


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