The forest in Tangier is often the last stop for many migrants from sub-Saharan African countries. The police routinely raids the forest, where migrants are sleeping under the trees, and takes them to the south of the country. Photo: Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera

Tangier/Rabat/Casablanca, Morocco — Moroccan authorities are using force and committing human rights violations amid efforts to block migrants from crossing into Europe, migrants and rights groups told Al Jazeera.

The backdrop: Almost 50,000 of the 54,922 arrivals into Spain this year have been by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration. More than 2,000 people have died in the Mediterranean trying to reach the European country, with over 550 of them having departed from Morocco. The numbers would have been far greater if Morocco had not prevented nearly 70,000 attempts to cross into Spain this year, authorities in the North African country say.

"Since 2004, we've aborted 500,000 attempts to cross into Europe, mainly via sea, and dismantled around 3,000 networks. We have around 13,000 guards in the north covering around 1,100km. That patrolling is costing Morocco over 200m euros ($228m) annually," Khalid Zerouali, Morocco's border control chief, said.

  • These "preventive measures" include routine police raids to move migrants from the country's north to the south. According to Amnesty International, at least 5,000 people have been "swept up in the raids" around Morocco, "piled onto buses and abandoned in remote areas close to the Algerian border or in the south".
  • "Morocco is using these migrants as a pressure card in negotiations with the European Union,” says Said Tbel, of the Moroccan Human Rights Association. “It takes them to the border cities to put pressure on Europe. When they get what they want, these migrants are moved back south."
  • "I have been taken to the south 10 times," a migrant from Ivory Coast, who did not wish to be identified, said at a camp by the main bus station in the port city of Casablanca. "I was arrested and put in a police car with dogs. From the police station, I was put on a bus with other migrants and taken near the Algerian border. I then had to beg on the streets to make enough money for a bus ride back up."

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Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.