Civil Society Organisations condemn security response to recent demonstrations
21/01/2021 16:03, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - A group of national and international civil society organisations said, Thursday, that "the security response to the recent protests and the arrest of nearly one thousand demonstrators is aimed at repressing social movements and throwing protesters in prisons".

At a joint press conference held in Tunis, the organisations denounced the security authorities' handling of the demonstrations that Tunisia has experienced in recent days, noting that the repression of movements is aimed at diverting social demands and calling for the release of detainees.

Vice President of the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LTDH), Bassam Trifi, said the league had recently formed, in coordination with civil society organisations, a committee of lawyers to defend the arrested demonstrators, indicating that "attempts by the authorities to discourage these organisations by arresting as many protesters as possible will fail".

Trifi considered that the decision to decree 4 days of general lockdown to coincide with the anniversary of the Revolution was aimed at repressing the demonstrations, noting that 10 years have passed since the December 17, 2010 revolution without any social demands being met, particularly in terms of improving the quality of life and the fight against poverty.

In turn, President of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), Mahdi Jlasi warned of the danger of the security treatment of the demonstrations, denouncing "the violent police interventions against them , which were not limited to those who committed acts of vandalism, but included many citizens who did not participate in the demonstrations at all," he said.

He added: "No one has the right to force citizens to choose the time of the demonstrations, because the right to demonstrate is not subject to a specification prohibiting the organisation of protest movements at night".

For his part, President of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), Abderrahman Hedhili considered that "the burglary of stores and commodities shows that protesters suffer from hollow bellies".

Hedhili called on the authorities to avoid resorting to repression, which has heightened tensions in the streets, noting that the forum had warned months ago that the beginning of this year would see an increase in social demands and protest movements demanding justice, employment and development.

Participating in the press conference were the FTDES, the SNJT, the Human Rights League, the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women and Bawsala.

Night demonstrations marked by acts of vandalism and damage to public and private property have broken out in recent days in several regions of the country.

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