Specter of 1981

Protests over a 30% hike in the price of bread quickly degenerated into full on riots in the town of Sefrou, and ignited several other demonstrations around the country, including in Rabat. (A loaf of bread or a baguette normally costs 1.20 dirhams. The new price would have been 1.56 dirhams, which is outrageous, especially considering the importance of bread and bread products to the Moroccan diet, particularly among the poor.) Yesterday, the Moroccan government announced it was canceling the hike, probably out of fear they would end up with a repeat of the bread riots of 1981 in Casablanca, which left several hundred people dead.