Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deadly Stampede at Mawazine Music Festival in Rabat

Soon, we hope to post some more positive news coming out of Morocco. Here is an article from the BBC about the recent Mawazine Music Festival that took place in Rabat and the deaths that took place there yesterday.


Deadly stampede at Rabat festival

At least 11 people are reported to have died in the Moroccan capital Rabat, after being crushed in a stampede at the Mawazine world music festival.

About 40 other people are thought to have been injured when a wire fence collapsed.

The incident happened on Saturday night, when some 70,000 spectators were packed into the Hay Nahda stadium to see Moroccan singer Abdelaziz Stati.

This year's festival has also featured Kylie Minogue, Khaled and Alicia Keys.

Analysts say the nine-day-long Mawazine festival is one of several events aimed at promoting Morocco's image as a modern, tolerant nation.

But some of the country's Islamist politicians have denounced the concerts as encouraging immoral behaviour.

Hurry to leave

People enter the Ibn Sina hospital in the capital Rabat, 24th May
Seven people are still thought to be in hospital after the incident

The festival was drawing to a close when the stampede occurred.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday morning, thousands of spectators hurried to leave and a wire fence toppled over.

According to police, five women, four men and two children died in the ensuing crush.

Rescuers helped to pull out survivors and transport the injured to hospital, where seven people remain under observation, according to the French news agency AFP.

Deadly crowd stampedes in Africa are usually associated with sports events, according to the BBC's North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad.

But this is the second known incident of its kind in the region; in 2007 a stampede at a concert in Tunisia killed seven people.

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