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!