UPDATE 1-Dozens wounded as Moroccan police beat protestors

Sun May 22, 2011 6:49pm GMT

* Dozens wounded as Moroccan protestors defy rally ban

* Government stepping up efforts to restrain demonstrations

* More anti-royalist slogans chanted as defiance grows

(Updates with protests in Casablanca)

By Adam Tanner and Souhail Karam

RABAT/CASABLANCA, May 22 (Reuters) - Moroccan police beat dozens of protesters who defied a ban on demonstrations on Sunday, leading to several injuries and arrests, witnesses said.

The police violence appears to signal a tougher government line against the protest movement, which has become more defiant after festive demonstrations starting in February.

Some are also becoming more outspoken about criticising the king, but the protests have failed to match the scale of those in several other Arab countries.

"Protest is a legal right, why is the Makhzen afraid?" crowds in Casablanca chanted, referring to the royal court. "Makhzen get out. Down with despotism."   Continued...

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