Morocco remembers 2011 Marrakech bomb victims
Moroccans relsease doves during a ceremony. By Abdelhak Senna (AFP)
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AFP) - Relatives and friends of the 17 people killed in a Marrakech cafe bombing a year ago on Saturday marked the first anniversary of their death by releasing a dove in memory of each of them.
The attack at the Argana cafe on the former imperial city's famed Jamaa el-Fna square killed eight French tourists, two Canadians, two Moroccans, one Briton, one Dutchman, a Portuguese, Russian and Swiss national.
Dozens were wounded.
With tears in their eyes friends and families of the victims said Saturday they "condemn hatred" and called for the "fight against this barbarity to continue".
A monument with the names of those killed at the Argana and a freshly planted olive tree will remember the 17 victims.
The ceremony started in the morning with a distribution of roses and John Lennon's song "Imagine" as background music. Attendees thanked Moroccan aid groups "for their help and support" after the attack.
King Mohammed VI, in a message read by Moroccan Interior Minister Mustapha Ramid, "firmly condemned appalling terrorism... which is opposed to the values of tolerance taught by Islam".
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was represented by Justice Minister Michel Mercier, thanked Morocco for its support in tragic circumstances and stressed that France was "determined to never give in to intimidation and blind violence".
The family of Moroccan waiter Yacine Bouzidi called on the authorities to help his widow who was left to care for two children including a seven-month-old baby born after the bombing.
"We are hoping for a gesture from Morocco in favour of our orphans," added Jacques Sombret whose daughter Maude died in the attack.
The April 28, 2011 bombing was the first such attack in Morocco in eight years and deeply affected the country's tourist industry.
On March 9 a Moroccan appeal court confirmed the death sentence against Adil Al-Atmani, the mastermind of the attack that killed 17 people, and handed a death sentence to his chief accomplice Hakim Dah, one of the others convicted.