(3 mins read)
Hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of Tunis on Saturday the 30th January 2021 in protest of perceived government “corruption” and “police repression” as they also demanded the “release of the sons of the nation” — in reference to over a thousand people arrested during several nights of demonstrations leading to violent clashes in mid-January.
A series of rallies which coincided with the tenth anniversary of the revolution that brought down Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, 2011, after 23 years in power.
Tunisians marched from Human Rights Square in central Tunis to Habib Bourguiba Avenue with the aim of reaching the Interior Ministry but were blocked deployed security forces
Tunisia finds itself amid a political and economic crisis worsened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as many Tunisians are dissatisfied with the country’s perceived lack of real political reform and economic progress.
Police brutality and unemployment worsened by the pandemic continues to drive young protesters onto streets to demand reform
The unrest continues to dominate much of public life. Across Tunisia, civil society groups and people from marginalised districts are demanding economic development, an end to police brutality and the release of an estimated 1,400 people arrested in the disturbances. Tunisia has been beset by political infighting and the police force remains almost entirely unreformed since the revolution that its own actions helped to spark.
Even before the pandemic destroyed the country’s vital tourist industry, Tunisia’s economy was struggling. Unemployment – a key driver of social unrest – remained ingrained at around 15% of the labour force nationwide, increasing to 36% among 15 to 24-year-olds, a prominent demographic among those now demonstrating.
The Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) has estimated that, of the 1,400 protesters arrested so far, approximately 30% were minors. It said that few had been offered lawyers and none of those claiming to have been beaten were medically examined.
The interior ministry has promised to investigate some of the abuse allegations, as well as a video that appears to show a police officer firing teargas into a house. However, many believe that convictions for serving officers are unlikely.
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