• Short Summary

    Within days after the abortive coup attempt on July 10 against Morocco's King Hassan II, the trappings of military presence were almost completely absent from the streets of Rabat.

  • Description

    Within days after the abortive coup attempt on July 10 against Morocco's King Hassan II, the trappings of military presence were almost completely absent from the streets of Rabat. Instead of the tanks and armoured cars of the immediate aftermath of the attempt, there were tourist buses and travellers from many parts of Europe.

    One of Morocco's biggest foreign-exchange earners, tourism continues unabated as the tensions of the violent weekend fighting eased.

    SYNOPSIS: Only days after the July 10, abortive coup against Moroccan King Hassan Two, the seaside capital of Rabat had lost most the military trappings of security. Instead, the city's hotels were filling with the tourists which make up one of the country's largest industries.

    There were tourist buses in the city's streets instead of the tanks of a few days earlier. People also arrived by car and air.

    Behind the scenes, of course, reverberations from the coup attempt still sounded. On Monday, eleven days after the violent attack on the King's seaside palace at Skhirat, near Rabat, it was announced that the Moroccan Parliament would debate a bill to set up a special "State Security Court". The bill was proposed by the King.

    On the streets, however, there were few reminders as tourists visited the city's attractions and bought souvenirs and post cards.

    The King has said that over 900 troops, most from a training camp in central Morocco, have been taken prisoners since the coup. He said those against whom evidence of responsibility is found will be tried by his proposed special court. Security outside the Royal Palace in Rabat has been relaxed so much, however, that tourists can stop and take photographs with no hinderance.

    The only obvious guards are the elite Palace corps...but there are ethers.

    The ice-cream vendors have been doing big business in the summer heat.

    As the tourists' descent upon the capital continued, the city's smarter shops found their trade unaffected by tensions.

    The Medina, Rabat's Arab Quarter, surrounded the visitors with its sights and sounds. For many, this was the city's most fascinating spectacle. It was also the place where the best bargains could be had -- if one had the time and the patience to haggle.

    Last week's return to near normal was a far cry from the coup's immediate aftermath. the country was first stunned when some 1,400 cadets stormed the King's seaside palace. They were led by 10 regular army officers who were executed by firing squad on July 13.

    Little trace of the tensions was visible later, however, at the town of Temara, near Rabat. There, one of the city's larger camping sites was nearly filled. The Moroccan Government went all out to ensure that the flow of tourists didn't diminish. Tourism is one of the country's biggest earners of foreign trade.

    The beaches around the capital were also packed with swimmers and sunbathers. To many the coup was little more than a newspaper story. But in the fighting around the palace and in subsequent actions, the total coup death tell rose to 233. Most of the cadets had been told they were going to defend the King.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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