New repression in Tunisia – support the workers' movement!

Submitted by AWL on 8 May, 2011 - 3:39
Police attack protesters

See details of emergency protest against police repression here.

Since Thursday 5 May, the Tunisian police have been carrying out a campaign of repression against demonstrators, on a scale not seen since the overthrow of Ben Ali on January 14. The Tunisian police, who are still commanded by old-regime loyalists, charged and beat demonstrators, including children. Police in black balaclavas shot huge quantities of tear-gas into crowds. As far as we know, no activists were arrested – just beaten. Leftwing activists and journalists were targeted in particular, and publishing houses were raided by the police following the disturbances. The government has now declared a state of emergency and a curfew.

The demonstrators were in the streets following the announcement by a Tunisian judge, Farhat Rajhi, that the provisional government headed by Sebsi was being directed in secret by a super-rich clique of Ben Ali's inner circle, based in London and organised around Marouan Mabrouk; and that if the Islamist party Ennahdha gained a good showing in the polls or Sebsi's government was unable to 'maintain order', there would be a coup d'etat led by General Rachid Ammar. Peaceful demonstrations immediately followed to demand the truth about who really runs the government; and to defend democracy.

Oussama, an activist in the Tunisian Left Workers' League (LGO) reports: “There were peaceful demonstrations as usual in front of the National Theatre [on the Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis]. The police charged, started beating people savagely, with an excessive and abusive use of teargas. We were demonstrating to say, “who is governing? Is it still the underworld, Ben Ali's mafia?” There were journalists, children, even very small children beaten. The message the police wanted to send is, “we're here – we're back, repression is back. I was beaten in front of two Italian journalists. The government will say that we were rioting and destroying things, but the video of my beating will show that we were being peaceful.

“They have set a curfew, but it's just cinema. They want to intimidate, to paralyse the streets and paralyse the people. But we came out under Ben Ali's police state, we demonstrated before 14 January and we will demonstrate now. They will employ thugs to create panic and create demand for 'the return to normal'.

“Everything is fragile. The counter-revolution is coming, and it is being directed by those who are in power right now. The mafia runs our country and they are releasing their dogs on the people.”

The labour movement and the left in Britain and internationally must demonstrate in defence of the revolution in Tunisia. We must help the workers' movement in Tunisia defend the gains of the revolution against this latest manoeuvre by the ruling class!


Submitted by AWL on Mon, 09/05/2011 - 15:00

A young militant in the Left Workers' League (LGO) reports on Monday 9 May:

The demo yesterday [Sunday 8 May] was split into two periods, the first before the Prime Minister [Sebsi]'s speech, from the morning there were a lot of young people who had gathered around the Avenue Bourguiba [the main drag in Tunis]. What I also noticed was that in the same place there were a lot of violent provocateurs ["casseurs"] that the demonstrators were stopping, while the police watched.
The second period came after the Prime Minister's speech, which people found very disappointing. In the evening there were big movements and in the town of Soliman in the southern part of Greater Tunis [the area around the capital], an activist from the Patriotic Democratic Labour Party fell, shot dead by police bullets. Today, there was a big gathering on the Avenue Bourguiba and another in front of the publishing house of the newspaper La Presse, organised by journalists who were expressing their anger at the attacks on 14 journalists [of last week].
Thank you very much for your help, if there is more news I will let you know.
Revolutionary Greetings.

Pour ce qui est de la manif d'hier il y a eut deux temps, le premier avant l'allocation du premier ministre, dès le matin il y avait un grand nombre de jeunes qui se sont regroupés au niveau de l'avenue Bourguiba ,ce que j'ai remarqué aussi c'est qu'il y avait au même endroit un grand nombre de casseurs que les manifestants ont bloqué sous le regard des policiers. Le second moment est survenu après l'allocution du premier ministre que les gens ont jugé très décevante, la nuit il y a eu des mouvements et dans la ville de Soliman située au sud du grand Tunis, un militant du parti du travail patriotique démocratique est tombé sous les balles de l'armée. Aujourd'hui, il y a un grand rassemblement sur l'avenue Bourguiba et un autre devant la maison de la Presse, organisé par des journalistes qui expriment leur mécontentement suite à l'agréssion de 14 journalistes. Je te remercie beaucoup pour ton soutien, si il y a du nouveau je te le ferai parvenir. Salutations Révolutionnaires cher Camarade

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