UPDATE 1-Morocco says Islamists, leftists stirring protests

Mon May 23, 2011 8:42pm GMT

* Govt: Islamists, leftists sow unrest through protests

* Amnesty urges investigation into May 22 events

* February 20 Movement says will not be drawn into violence

(Updates with Amnesty and February 20 spokesman)

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, May 23 (Reuters) - Morocco said on Monday that Islamists and extreme leftists were seeking to spread unrest under the guise of democracy protests, after police reacted violently to banned nationwide demonstrations.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Rabat to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of assault by police during Sunday's protests, while protest organisers said they would not be drawn into violent confrontation with authorities.

Communications Minister Khalid Naciri, who is also the government spokesman, spoke after riot police on Sunday wounded dozens of activists in the February 20 Movement who defied the ban in the capital Rabat and major cities such as Casablanca.

"They don't want democratic reform," he told Reuters. "Authorities had to deal with people who use the February 20 Movement to serve the agenda of three groups. Their goal is to kill democracy. The February 20 Movement needs to be cautious."   Continued...

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