Prince Charles lays wreath on African despot`s grave

The royal couple risked the wrath of protests after revering King Hassan II`s tomb.

Last Updated: Apr 05, 2011, 23:07 PM IST

London: Prince Charles and wife Camilla have landed themselves into a controversy by laying a wreath at a despot`s tomb while visiting Morocco that is facing pro-democracy protests, media reports said.

The royal couple last night risked the wrath of demonstrators in the north African nation after paying respects at the tomb of King Hassan II, whose regime killed hundreds, Daily Express reported.

His son, King Mohammed VI, a more liberal monarch, has tried to stay in power by promising sweeping democratic reforms. Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi, however, said: "The Prince, by visiting, is confirming that Morocco is stable."
Hasan ruled Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999. He dissolved parliament in 1965 and ruled directly. But he didn`t abolish the mechanisms of parliamentary democracy. When elections were eventually held, they were allegedly mostly rigged in favour of loyal parties. It caused severe discontent among the opposition, and protest demonstrations and riots challenged the King`s rule.