France 24

Tunisia: protests against repression and extended curfew

Demonstrations took place in Tunisia on Saturday to protest against police repression but also to demand better social policy as the coronavirus pandemic is pushing many families into poverty. The curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the ban on parties and gatherings, in effect since October, have been extended until mid-February. Hundreds of Tunisians demonstrated on Saturday January 23 in Tunis and other cities in the country to protest against police repression and demand better social policy, after several nights of unrest marked by violence and hundreds of arrests. These protests come as the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many families into poverty and threatens the hospital system, with more than 400 patients in intensive care. Tunisia had recorded more than 6,000 deaths on Thursday evening – with a daily record that day of 103 deaths – and 193,273 cases of contamination.The curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the ban on parties and gatherings, which have been in effect since October, have been extended Saturday until February 14. This did not prevent a hundred people from marching in Gafsa on Saturday, as in Sfax the day before, to demand the release of young people arrested during clashes between protesters and police officers this you week. “We must listen to young people, not send police by the thousands” “Under the cobblestones, anger” or “neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution” chanted several hundred protesters in Tunis. A protester was injured during brief incidents on Avenue Bourguiba, the capital’s main artery, under very high police surveillance, hooly News noted. “Youth live from day to day, we no longer have hope , neither to work, nor to study and they treat us as troublemakers “, laments Amine, graduate in aviation mechanics and employee of a French call center for 300 euros per month.” You have to listen to them. young people, not send police by the thousands. But the whole system is corrupt, a few families and their supporters share the management of Tunisian wealth, “he said. Abused during arrests and custody During clashes between protesters throwing stones and the police responding with tear gas, more than 700 people according to the police – at least a thousand, according to NGOs – were arrested in four evenings. On the same subject: immersion in images in the heart of the night riots which shake Tunisia Human rights defenders and families denounced abuses during arrests and police custody. “The situation is catastrophic, the politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system,” said Omar Jawadi, 33, sales manager in a hotel and who has only received half of his salary for several months. The Tunisian political class, paralyzed by its divisions, is struggling to cope with the social emergency. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi waits a vote in Parliament on Tuesday to confirm a major reshuffle announced a week ago.