Tunisia: Police Brutally Disperse Peaceful Protesters

Special coverage Feature

Tunisian police brutally dispersed protesters outside the headquarters of the Cabinet yesterday (July 15). The protesters were calling for reform and were planning to launch a third sit-in at Kasbah square, which is the epicenter of protests in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Amongst the demands of the protesters were the departure of the Minister of Justice whom they consider unable to fulfill his duties and, “bring to justice the killers of the revolution martyrs”, and the Interior Minister, Hbib Essid, who held key ministerial positions during the regime of Ben Ali.

Police in Tunisia. Photo by Kissa online blogspot.

Police in Tunisia. Photo by Kissa online blogspot.

Protesters also raised slogans condemning the exclusion of youth from the decision making process, and calling for the independence of the judiciary.

Security forces used tear gas and batons to prevent the protesters from gathering and launching the sit-in. On Twitter, Tunisians continue to record and update people around the world of developments on the ground.

@walidsa3d:Police is trying to disperse protesters using tear gas #kasbah3

@tunisien:Unhappy Tunisians are trying to start a peaceful sit-in and the police welcomes them with violence. #Kasbah3

Security forces also stormed into a mosque and used batons to beat protesters taking refuge inside it.

@walidsa3dCops stormed into the Kasbah mosque and drove out protesters using batons #Kasbah3

@ByLasKo:Les flics ont forcé la porte de la mosquée, tabassé et expulsé les gens qui s’y étaient réfugiés #kasbah3

the cops pushed the door of the mosque, beat up protesters, and expelled the people taking refuge inside

The following YouTube video features protesters taking refuge inside a mosque near Kasbah Square, chanting “Faithful to Martyrs’ Blood”. Some of them got suffocated by tear gas.

Dozens of protesters were also arrested. A message to free all those arrested was published on the blog Kissa-online:

نطالب بنفس الصوت العالي إطلاق سراح كل المؤقوفين (يبدو أن عددهم 48) وخاصة منهم المدونين الفايسبوكر محمد شايح و شهيد بلحاج وأمان الله منصوري.

We are calling out loud for the immediate release of all those arrested (it seems that their number is 48), especially bloggers and Facebook users Mohamed Cheyeh, Shaheed Belhaj and Aman Allah Mansouri.

الإفراج عن 26 من معتقلي القصبه, إحالة 20 على القضاء و تجنيد 35. #kasbah3 #kasba3 #tunisie #tunisia

26 of the arrested at Kasbah have been released, 20 to stand trial and 35 have been forced to join the army to do military service.

The brutal methods of the police in dealing with the protesters angered Tunisian bloggers and reminded them of the old methods of the former regime. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter.

@maroo_king: la #Kasbah3 n’était pas grand-chose (300 personnes) ! je suis pas d’acc avec ce sit-in mais je suis aussi contre la violence de la police !

#Kasbah3 was nothing (300 protesters)! I’m not supporting the sit-in, but I’m against violence exercised by the police.

@guellaty: Je crois que les policiers n’ont pas compris qu’on sortait d’un état policier.

I think that police officers have not yet understood that we are getting out of a police state. #Kasbah3

@Marwen:Sinon, je ne me reconnais pas dans la #Kasbah3, mais pour moi la pression de la rue est indispensable et les lacrymos n’ont aucune justif.

I’m not a supporter of #Kasbah3, but pressure of the street is necessary, and tear gas is not justified


This post is part of a special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.


Tunisia jails rapper for cop insult

Tunis – A Tunisian rapper was handed a two-year jail sentence on Thursday for insulting the police in a song, an AFP journalist reported, with the court ruling sparking clashes between his supporters and police.

Ala Yaacoub, better known by his rap name “Weld El 15”, was being retried at the same court in a Tunis suburb that had convicted him in absentia in March, after he handed himself him in to face justice.

As the judge read out the verdict, shouts of protest erupted in the court room from his supporters who were swiftly expelled by police, with some of them beaten outside the building.

There was evidence of tear gas outside the court house, but it was not clear who had fired it. The police blamed friends of the singer.

“The sentence is very tough for an artist who decided of his own accord to face justice,” said Yaacoub’s lawyer Ghazi Mrabet.

“It is particularly unfair that no text exists for suppressing a work of art.”

Yaacoub, who was in hiding, was given a two-year jail sentence in March after posting a rap video called “The Police are Dogs” on the Internet.

He later turned himself in.

The lawyer said he was charged with conspiracy to commit violence against public officials, and insulting the police, offences punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Before the trial opened on Thursday, Yaacoub had said he was afraid and criticised the authorities for not respecting freedom of speech.

“I am afraid because in a country like Tunisia the law is not applied; you can expect anything,” he told AFP.

“In the song, I used the same terms that the police used to speak about the youth. The police have to respect citizens if they want to be respected,” Yaacoub added.

In the video the singer is heard saying: “Police, magistrates, I’m here to tell you one thing, you dogs; I’ll kill police instead of sheep; Give me a gun I’ll shoot them.”

Ahead of the trial in March, in which four others were handed prison sentences but later released, the interior ministry said the song’s lyrics were “unethical, abusive and threatening” towards pubic officials.

Several cases related to freedom of expression have sparked outrage in Tunisia since the January 2011 revolution, and activists have often accused the ruling Islamist party Ennahda of seeking to muzzle them.

In April 2012, two youths were jailed for seven and a half years for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook.

On Wednesday, three European members of the radical women’s protest group Femen were jailed for four months for staging a topless demonstration in Tunis in support of a detained Tunisian activist. – AFP


TUNISIAN RAPPER “Weld El 15" sentenced for 2 years for rap video “The Police are Dogs” culminating in clashes with police and supporters

sentenced for 2 years for rap video “The Police are Dogs”
culminating in clashes with police and supporters

New developments in the Jabel Chaami

Tunisia: New arrests in campaign against militants

Published: May 31, 2013

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian police arrested six new militants this week in their battle against al-Qaida-linked extremists, including one man believed to be connected to the assassination of a leftist politician in February, the Interior Ministry announced Friday.

The arrests bring to 45 the number of militants detained on the mountainous border with Algeria since December, spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui told reporters. Tunisia has been trying to push back a feared surge of al-Qaida-linked militants who are believed to have fled the French operation to root out extremists in northern Mali.


Foreign FEMEN activists in Tunisia taken into custody

Foreign activists arrested for topless protest in Tunisia

Two French and one German FEMEN activist were taken into custody in Tunisia on Wednesday after baring their breasts to demonstrate against the jailing of a Tunisian woman who posted topless pictures of herself online as a form of protest.


FRANCE 24 latest world news report

A Look at the Arab Spring Security Sector Reforms

Finishing the Job: Security Sector Reform After the Arab Spring

By Omar Ashour, on 28 May 2013, Feature
The Arab Uprisings were principally sparked by the brutality of the security sector in almost every single country where they occurred. In Tunisia, Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation following an insult by the police in December 2010 triggered the revolution. In Egypt, the June 2010 murder by two policemen of Internet activist Khaled Said, followed by the brutality of police during the fraudulent parliamentary elections of November-December 2010, set the revolution’s context. In Libya, the arrest in February 2011 of Fathy Terbil—a human rights lawyer who had represented the families of the victims of the June 1996 Abu Selim Prison massacre, in which more than 1,236 political prisoners were gunned down by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces—sparked that country’s revolution. In Syria, abuses committed in March 2011 by Assad’s security forces, which included the pulling out of the fingernails of children and teenagers in Deraa, triggered the protests that ignited that country’s ongoing civil war. In many ways, the Arab Spring was a region-wide reaction against violations by the security services.

Tunisian Trial of US embassy attack begins

US embassy attack trial opens in Tunis

Twenty people accused of involvement in a deadly attack on the US embassy last year went on trial in Tunis on Tuesday. Angry protesters attacked the embassy on September 14, 2012, after a US man released a video online that many thought mocked Islam.


FRANCE 24 latest world news report

Tunisia cautious of upcoming tourism Season

Tunisians’ Daily Lives Transformed by Lack of Security

Asma Smadhi | 23 May 2013

Security concerns have fundamentally affected the day-to-day lives of Tunisians, from how they plan their evenings to how they will spend their summer vacations.


Tunisia Live

Progress against terrorism in Tunisia

Tunisia making progress against terror – PM

2013-05-23 14:10

Tunis – Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said on Thursday that Tunisia is making progress in its bid to dismantle “terrorist” cells despite the presence in the country of armed groups and recent clashes with Islamists.



Salafi and the banned Congress

How to deal with Tunisia’s Salafists

Ennahda’s crackdown could be smarter, integrating moderates and reserving tough stuff for those who back domestic terror

Tuesday 21 May 2013 08.24 EDT

Critics of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist government, led by the Ennahda party, have in the past chided it for being a soft touch with followers of the ultra-conservative Salafi movement, treating them like wide-eyed, wayward children with a well-intentioned but simplistic view of religion. But times have changed.

(c) 2013 Guardian News & Media Ltd http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/21/tunisia-salafists-ennahda-crackdown

Security tightens in Tunisia in light of Ansar al-Sharia rally

Tunisia deploys security forces

2013-05-18 16:09

Tunis – Tunisian security forces deployed in strength on Saturday after Salafist movement Ansar al-Sharia called on its hardline Islamist supporters to defy a government ban on its annual congress.