Residents in Casablanca took to the streets of the Moroccan city at the weekend, wearing shorts and chanting in solidarity with Belgian youth volunteers who received violent threats for working in shorts.
Attended by men, women and children, the march took place on Sunday under the hashtag #YesWeShort, and saw most attendants bare their legs and march along the beachfront boulevards to express their support, according to HLN.
The march was organised in response to news that a man had been arrested for saying that a group of young Belgian volunteers should be beheaded for wearing shorts while working on a project in the south of the country.
While the man had never been in contact with the volunteers and had made the comments following a broadcast video of the volunteer group, he was arrested for hate speech.
The incidents stirred residents of the country to reject ideas seen as “obscure,” with people during the march chanting: “We can dress as we like,” and “no to obscurantism”.
🇲🇦#Shortons_les #ZankaDialna #YesWeShort.
En réponse aux #dénigrements dont ont fait l’objet de #JeunesBelges bénévoles, un #Sit_in de #solidarité a été organisé, le samedi 11 août à #Casablanca🇲🇦 , dénonçant l’#intolérance sous toutes ses formes. https://t.co/bXg9bH3GGq pic.twitter.com/oaWTvhiM9E
— Samia Herrag (@HerragSamia) August 11, 2019
“We want to make it clear that everyone has a free choice,” organiser Latifa Machtali told TV5Monde. “Whether you wear a burqa, a djellaba or a short, everyone is free to choose.”
A spokesperson with the Belgian NGO who organises the volunteer trips to the country said that the volunteers had never been in real danger, and that the majority of the local communities appreciated their work.
Organisers of the march also called on Moroccans to show their gratitude with the Belgian volunteers by sending flowers to the village where they worked, and the campaign was joined by many on social media.
The Brussels Times