Saturday, February 27, 2021

Protests proceed in Tunisia as gov’t bans gatherings

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Tunisians march in opposition to police brutality, inequality, as authorities bans gatherings amid surge in COVID-19 circumstances.Hundreds of individuals marched within the Tunisian capital on Saturday to protest police repression, corruption and poverty, following a number of nights of unrest marked by clashes and arrests.
Protesters in Tunis chanted “No more fear, the streets belong to the people” and “the people want the fall of the regime” – a slogan popularised throughout the Arab Spring a decade in the past. They additionally held up banners calling for the discharge of tons of of protesters detained since January 14.
The police say greater than 700 individuals have been arrested following final week’s clashes, through which younger individuals hurled rocks and petrol bombs at safety forces, who responded with tear fuel and water cannon.
Human rights teams say at the least 1,000 individuals had been detained.
“We can’t accept a police state in Tunisia 10 years after the revolution … it is shameful,” stated Mahmoud, a younger cafe employee who didn’t give his household identify.
Much of the unrest has been in disenfranchised and marginalised areas, the place anger is boiling over hovering unemployment and a political class accused of getting did not ship good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Demonstrators carry indicators throughout an anti-government protest in Tunis, Tunisia, January 23, 2021. The signal reads: ‘the fall of the regime’ [Jihed Abidellaoui/Reuters]Demonstrators face cops throughout an illustration in Tunis, Saturday, January 23, 2021 [Hedi Ayari/AP]Although the youths clashing with riot police after darkish in poor districts of Tunisian cities have voiced few clear political goals, daytime protests have targeted on the shortage of jobs and on the police response to demonstrations.
“The situation is catastrophic,” stated Omar Jawadi, 33, a resort gross sales supervisor, who has been paid solely half his wage for months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system.”
Saturday’s protests got here as Tunisia struggled to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the economic system and threatened to overwhelm hospitals. More than 6,000 individuals have died from COVID-19 in Tunisia, with a file 103 deaths reported on Thursday.
The authorities on Saturday prolonged a night-time curfew from 8pm to 5am (19:00 to 04:00 GMT) and banned gatherings till February 14.
Starting Monday, the federal government can also be forbidding travel between areas and ordering all individuals over 65 to remain at home as a part of stricter virus measures introduced Saturday by the Tunisian Health Ministry spokesperson, Nissaf Ben Alaya Ben Alaya.
Restaurants and bars will stay closed apart from takeout meals. Schools and universities can resume research Monday however many courses shall be transferred on-line. Ben Alaya threatened “drastic measures” in opposition to violators, saying the nation is “at a critical juncture” in its battle in opposition to COVID-19.
In the capital, police positioned barricades alongside Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the stately tree-lined thoroughfare working from the ocean as much as the previous metropolis of Tunis, in a bid to cease the protesters gathering.
Demonstrators as a substitute rallied outdoors the central financial institution constructing and marched by way of the town, with plain-clothes police shifting on all sides with two-way radios.
Though protesters later managed to reach Habib Bourguiba, a symbolic point of interest of the 2011 rebellion, the try to shut off the avenue underscored authorities unease on the momentum of the protests. The demonstration had been authorised for 2 hours, and police fired tear fuel to disperse the crowds when the 2 hours had been up.
Tunisia final week marked one decade since Ben Ali fled the nation amid mass protests, ending 23 years in energy.
Tunisia’s political management is split, with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi ready for parliament to verify a significant cupboard reshuffle introduced final Saturday.

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