Rabat- As Morocco’s Throne Day approaches on July 30, Moroccan media have reported that King Mohammed VI has been in the troubled northern city of Al Hoceima since Monday, July 23.
Security services have moved into cities in the north, especially to Al Hoceima, where King Mohammed VI has arrived with senior officials, Al Massae newspaper reported Friday.
The King was seen in his car on an Al Hoceima street with his advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma. Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita also arrived in the northern city along with the minister of the interior, who oversees the security arrangements in the city.
For the 19th anniversary of Throne Day, the King will give a speech addressed to the Moroccan nation, expected to be broadcast from a northern city. The Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol, and Chancellory announced that the King’s speech will be broadcast on radio and television Sunday, July 29, at 9:30 p.m.
According to public expectations, the King will most likely speak from Al Hoceima or Tetouan. In the last two years, the King has given Throne Day speeches from Tetouan.
According to Al Massae, Morocco’s King is staying near the Bouskour beach, located in Imzouren, near Al Hoceima.
Al Hoceima province Governor Farid Chourak is responsible for maintaining security in the many neighborhoods and streets in Al Hoceima, according to the same outlet.
Al Hoceima has been on full alert on all main streets, neighborhoods, and squares in order to secure the royal visit, especially since the King is used to roaming streets without official protocols, Al Massae noted.
According to the newspaper, Mohammed VI will stay for more than two weeks in the north. Ministers and officials will reportedly travel to the region over the weekend to prepare for the Throne Day celebrations.
King expected to deliver a significant speech
Sunday’s speech is expected to be one of the King’s most important since 2018 has witnessed many significant events in Morocco. The most striking occurrence has been the boycott of three prominent companies in Morocco since April 20 and controversially “harsh” sentences given to Hirak Rif activists on June 26 for their participation in 2016-2017 Al Hoceima protests.
Many Moroccans are waiting for the King to announce important policy changes on Throne Day. Others are expecting that King Mohammed VI will probably grant amnesty to the 54 convicted Hirak Rif activists, who were sentenced to 1 to 20 years in prison.
Up to now, the monarch has not spoken directly on the Hirak movement, except when he decided to sack many ministers and senior officials in October 2017, after they mishandled the Al Hoceima development projects “Manarat Al-Mutawassit.”
The King said he was “disappointed in their performance at their respective ministries and he would never again entrust them with any public missions.”
King seen aboard a yacht off Al Hoceima coast
A video has been recently circulating social media, claiming to show King Mohammed VI sailing the coast of Al Hoceima on what was identified as a yacht belonging to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The Qatari yacht, known as “Lusail,” was carrying many people and surrounded by security boats that prevented the public from approaching it.
According to the poster of the 35-second video, King Mohammed VI was seen aboard Lusail yacht while Moroccan citizens chanted “Long live the king” on the other side. The security boats prevented the public from taking photos.
Social media pages also featured pictures believed to be of the King in his car accompanied by his adviser Fouad Ali El Himma.