Supporters of popular Moroccan activist Nasser Zefzafi have reacted angrily to his 20-year prison sentence for threatening state security

He was arrested in May last year after organising months of protests against unemployment and corruption.

A court in Casablanca convicted him and several others protesters on Tuesday.

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights described the conviction as a “mockery of justice”, the AFP news agency reports.

Zefzafi’s father, Ahmed, told the Reuters news agency he had seen his son following the verdict.

“His morale is high. He told me he is ready to make sacrifices for this country and saluted all those who expressed solidarity with him,” he said.

The mass protests were triggered in October 2016 by the death in the town of al-Hoceima of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed to death by a rubbish truck as he tried to rescue his stock that had been confiscated by the police.

Footage of Mr Fikri’s death was widely shared on social media, triggering the rise of Zefzafi’s Popular Mobilisation movement – which champions the demands of people from the northern Rif area.

The fishmonger’s death drew parallels to that of a Tunisian fruit seller in 2010, which helped spark the Arab Spring uprisings.