RABAT - Rights groups, trade unionists and members of the February 20 protest movement have called for demonstrations across Morocco on Saturday against the high cost of living and other causes of social discontent.
An association of 18 rights groups announced a "national day of action against the high cost of living, rising prices, arrests and repression targeting protest movements."
The main Moroccan workers union also urged people on Saturday to "demonstrate against corruption and in support of social justice."
And the pro-reform February 20 movement, formed last year as Arab Spring uprisings swept other countries in the region, has called on its supporters to take to the streets, after a number of activists were jailed protesting.
The authorities have disrupted previous demonstrations organised by the February 20 movement, saying they were not authorised.
Activists complain that a surge in fuel prices -- petrol jumped by 20 percent in June as the government moved to slash its unaffordable subsidies bill -- has driven up the cost of food and other basic household goods.
In a report published last week, the central planning body warned that the price increases would continue to weigh on domestic consumption as economic activity slows.
The rights groups also called for the "freeing of prisoners of conscience and the prosecution of officials responsible for acts of violence," while insisting on the right to protest peacefully.
Reflecting the lingering discontent, thousands have taken to the streets in Rabat and Casablanca in recent months, after a period of relative calm, criticising the government and protesting against unemployment, high prices and corruption.
But the February 20 movement has lost much of its support since the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, known by its French acronym PJD, won most parliamentary seats in November elections and broke with it.
The PJD's Abdelilah Benkirane, who was appointed prime minister in January, has since been accused of failing to address social grievances and fight corruption, pledges that brought his party to power in the wake of the Arab Spring.