Over several days in late November 2012, police used birdshot against protesters in Siliana, injuring hundreds of people including demonstrators, journalists covering the demonstration, and bystanders, according to an Amnesty International report at the time. One investigative report by civil society put the number of injured at 178, and at least 20 people lost eyes or sustained severe damage to their eyes. Now, a decade later, these people are still calling on authorities to cover their healthcare costs, extend their social benefits, and hold the officials responsible for the use of birdshot accountable.
On September 1, police violently dispersed a peaceful demonstration in downtown Tunis, punching, shoving, and using pepper spray against demonstrators as well as journalists who were there covering the event. Aside from some incidents in front of Parliament on July 26, Wednesday’s police repression was the first documented use of police violence against peaceful demonstrators since President Kais Saied suspended parliament and dismissed the government on July 25.
More than 1500 individuals—including 500 minors—were arrested since January 2021 during protest movements against the current political and economic system. Besides arbitrary arrests, police also confiscated protestors’ telephones and breached their personal data.
“ما ثماش دولة، ما ثماش حكومة، نحنا الدولة”. هذه الكلمات المخيفة التي صرّح بها أحد ضباط الشرطة، خلال اعتصام في مدينة صفاقس في 2 فيفري، تعبّر إلى حد كبير عن التحوّل الخطير للأحداث في تونس في الأسابيع الأخيرة. تزيد الاضطرابات الجارية من مخاطر العودة إلى الدولة البوليسية بعد سنوات على التحوّل الديمقراطي المتزعزع الذي فشل في وضع حدٍّ لانتهاكات الأجهزة الأمنية وتفشي إفلاتها من العقاب عن انتهاكاتها لحقوق الإنسان.
“There is no government, there is no state, we are the state”. These chilling words by a police officer, during a sit-in in the city of Sfax on 2 February, speak volumes about the dangerous turn of events in Tunisia in recent weeks. The latest unrest heightens risks of a return to a police state following years of shaky democratic transition which has failed to end abuses by security services and their rampant impunity for human rights violations.
On October 6, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists in Tunisia raised their voices and banners in the street, amid the hundreds of demonstrators who were peacefully protesting a draft law that would drastically limit criminal accountability for the use of force by the security forces. By a cruel irony, police attacked the demonstrators, including LGBT activists, and arbitrarily arrested them.
On Tuesday, October 6, demonstrators gathered in front of Parliament to protest a draft law under discussion seeking to grant security forces legal immunity from prosecution for use of force—the first of several protests against the law this week. Police forces then assaulted protesters and detained four of them at a police station in the Bardo neighborhood. Meshkal/Nawaat spoke with the four people who were detained and later released about the police abuse they experienced.
في الوقت الذي شككت شقيقة سلام مليك في عدم حيادية باحث البداية باعتبار أن عملية المداهمة تضمنت أعوانا من الفرقة العدلية نبهت أيضا النقابة الوطنية للصحافيين التونسيين في بيانها المذكور إلى “ما طرأ على الملف من تنازع مصالح على مستوى باحث البداية وعلى مستوى القاضي الجالس الذي كانت أحكامه محل متابعة إعلامية وانتقاد من قبل “راديو جريد أف أم” في أكثر من مرة”.
In spite of censorship by mainstream media, the impassioned rap of Klay BBJ has stirred the enthusiasm of youth far beyond working-class neighborhoods and provoked the animosity of law enforcement officials. Upon the release of «وقتاش» («When?») in January 2012, the Union of Customs Agents filed a complaint against Klay BBJ and Hamzaoui Med Amine. His mother claims that while the rapper was performing in Morocco in February 2013, two men came to her home in the hopes that she might convince her son to stop writing political songs.