Riots continue in Tunisia

In Tunisia, in 15 cities, including the capital, clashes between protesters and security officials. Amid the economic crisis and massive unemployment, the demonstrators are demanding the resignation of the government. It didn’t help that last week the prime minister changed 11 ministers at once.

This is Habib Burgida Avenue, the central thoroughfare of Tunisia. January 2021. Only dozens of police cars and cleaners.

And this is how the avenue looked exactly ten years ago. It was here that the so-called Jasmine Revolution took place and, in fact, the whole “Arab Spring” began. The Tunisians were unable to take to the streets on the anniversary of this event.

“Do you know why they introduced this quarantine and curfew? Because the situation is tense here, and the coronavirus has nothing to do with it. They are afraid of protests, everyone is tired and unhappy,” says Tunisian Rami.

“The first insult they inflicted on people who died and were wounded ten years ago, here on the streets. The second – to us personally! We cannot honor their memory,” says a passerby.

Quarantine in Tunisia was introduced for only 4 days, and it began on January 14, on the anniversary of the revolution. Too short a lockdown to stop the pandemic, but long enough to contain protests, the authorities thought. Did not work out. People took to the streets after 4 pm, right after the curfew.

“The blow fell on the tourism industry, which employs a large population of more than 10 percent. And the lockdowns affected the socio-economic situation of the population. The packages provided by the state were insufficient,” says Dmitry Tarasenko, an Arabist, expert at the Russian International Affairs Council.

Riots have already swept 15 cities of the country, including the resort of Sousse. In the provinces of Silliana, Kasserine, Bizerte and Sousse, army units were introduced. The police use tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. About a thousand people have already been detained.

Barricades appear in the streets. Protesters set fire to car tires, blocking roads. Shop windows and parked cars are beaten. These protests in Tunisia are called the revolution of the hungry.

“They are afraid of a pandemic? Then why did they not introduce quarantine earlier? They are afraid of people! They are afraid of losing their power. And now ordinary people are suffering from their actions. Officials will get theirs, and no one will pay me if I do not go to work. “- says the protester.

Riots in the city of Bizerte, an hour’s drive from the capital. It is called the most Russian city in Tunisia; a rather large Russian diaspora lives there. According to the latest data, the Russians were not injured during the riots, no detainees.

“At the moment, against the background of the events in Tunisia, the embassy has not received information from local competent authorities about the facts of detentions of Russians due to public disorder. Citizens also did not apply for consular support,” said Sultan Agametov, press attaché of the Russian embassy in Tunisia.

On the third day of the riots, the Tunisian president took to the streets to call protesters for peace.

“I want to appeal to all Tunisians: do not allow now to use and provoke you. Do not attack anyone, do not damage property, including state institutions,” President Kais Said urged.

“Let’s hope that the country will digest this not the first and not the last crisis in history. It is important that the state does not rely on gendarme functions and does not turn social development programs into pure populism, as it was in 2011,” says Dmitry Tarasenko.

In 2011, the protests in Tunisia, as now, were caused by unemployment and falling incomes. And the young vegetable merchant Mohammed Bouazizi became the symbol of the revolution and the first victim. In protest against poverty and police brutality, he set fire to himself outside the city hall. Then the unrest ended with the resignation of the president and the formation of a government of national unity. The Tunisian head of state fled to Saudi Arabia.

And then – the protests in Egypt and Yemen, the war in Libya and the assassination of Gaddafi, the many years of war in Syria, the uprising in Bahrain, mass protests in Algeria, Iraq and a dozen other countries in Africa and the Middle East. The “Arab Spring” began in the winter of 2011, and its echoes can still be heard in many countries.


Source: Вести.Ru by www.vesti.ru.

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