largeHe vigorously dispersed the protests, which also marked the 11th anniversary of the fall of China Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, sparking a rare scene of violence in the Tunisian capital since the 2011 uprising that toppled the dictator and sparked the region’s Arab Spring uprisings.
A particularly robust suppression system
“Down with the coup, the people want it to end,” shouted demonstrators gathered on Boulevard Mohammed V in central Tunisia. Opponents of President Keith Saeed called his July 25 seizure of power a “coup”, when he dissolved the government and suspended parliament to rule by decree.This Ministry of the Interior He said in a news release that nearly 1,200 people took part in the demonstrations, deploying a large police force and heavily reinforced metal barriers and riot control units. Demonstrators managed to break several cordons and were repelled by batons, tear gas and dirty water jets. With no access to the main road, Habib Bourguiba Avenue, they dispersed into several different groups. Dozens of people were reportedly arrested and several, including at least a 15-year-old boy, were beaten and dragged to the ground.AFP. Cyclists drove into some groups to disperse them and warning shots were heard. At least two foreign journalists were arrested and roughed up by police, according to testimonies from colleagues.
Said’s determination meets ‘dictator’s orders’
“This is the most violent intervention by the security forces we have seen, both in terms of the tactics used and the arrests,” said Fati Jale, president of the Agency for the Prevention of Torture, explaining that the independent body has been monitoring the demonstrations for a year. . About 50 people managed to get close to the interior ministry building on a street near Habib Bourguiba Avenue. “You work for (Abdel Fattah) al-Sissi and the United Arab Emirates,” a woman told a police officer. Mr Saeed’s critics have accused the Egyptian president and the UAE of backing his coup despite authorities’ ban due to a strong resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic, but several political parties, including Islam-inspired group Ennahdha, held on to Friday’s decision. rallies, accusing the authorities of using the health condition to stop the demonstrations.
Opponents are messed up by the current situation
“The revolution has been wiped off the calendar by the dictator’s order”, prominent activist Sihem Bensedrine protested to AFP after Mr Saeed removed the Jan. 14 public holiday, arguing that, according to him, the revolution would be “Unfinished”, he will take over. She denounced the rally ban as a “police and security tactic to deny Tunisians the right to demonstrate”. “Those who overthrew a 23-year-old dictatorship will not bring it back,” she added.
Sofiane Ferhani, brother of the victims of the 2011 revolution and head of the Wounded Society, was equally outraged. “What right does the president have to allow himself access on January 14? We won’t let it happen, this day is too precious to us,” he said. The new protests against the president come amid tensions between Ennahdha and Mr Saeed – already high since the July coup – after the December 31 arrest and hospitalization of one of the party’s strongmen, the former Attorney General Noureddine was arrested and hospitalized under police surveillance. Billy.
Jawhar Ben Mbarek, a Tunisian who also attended Friday’s demonstrations, stood at the head of a group of opponents who denounced President Said’s “coup”.human rights organization Amnesty International In a statement Friday, it denounced the demonstration ban as “an obstacle to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.”