(AFP)

RABAT — Morocco’s justice minister has admitted to “several cases of abuse” by police at recent protests, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday, saying the government would review how such protests were dealt with by them.

“There have been several cases of abuse by the police forces of citizens” protesting, Mustapha Ramid was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language daily Akhbar al-Youm.

“The government must review the way in which the security forces intervene, to ensure that it conforms with the law,” he added, referring to peaceful protests violently dispersed by baton-wielding riot police in recent days.

Ramid also accused the protesting activists themselves of “abuse,” by occupying major arteries in Morocco’s main cities and blocking traffic.

“It is the responsibility of everyone, not just one party,” to respect the law, he said.

The UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, warned on Saturday of a “spike” in the use of excessive force by the Moroccan police to suppress demonstrations.

Protests in the north African kingdom, particularly by unemployed graduates and opposition activists with the February 20 movement, have been common since the Arab Spring, albeit on a smaller scale than in countries where they led to regime change.