Friday, February 10, 2006

In the Streets

Today there were huge protests against the cartoons printed in Denmark, and then reprinted ina bunch of other places in Europe. Wisely (I think), I rode my bike to drop off a research clearance request at the Ministry of Culture, and then checked mail at the Fulbright office. The New Yorker arrived! And my Learn Chinese Now cd! And tracing paper! (My mom sent me tracing paper because here they sell it by the sheet, and it's a dirham and a half a sheet, which is outrageous [there are nine dirhams in a dollar]! This is trace, here! Not vellum!)

Since the protests were at Bab el-Had, the main downtown bus stop, all buses were rerouted, and the street by our end of the medina was ridiculously crowded. There were truckloads of Moroccan-flag-waving young men being brought in for the protests. From, um, the countryside? I don't know where from, but at least one of the incoming trucks had a banner with the name of a nationalist movement on it.

Some streets were uncommonly empty (mostly because they were blocked off, I think), and there were dozens and dozens of people waiting at each bus stop. I was really glad to be riding, and to get to beat the traffic. I even got to ride a heavenly few hundred meters in the middle of one the main streets going into downtown--it was closed to traffic because of the protests. And it's usually the street where I get stuck behind a filth-spewing bus.


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