Tunisia : Arabic Pinochet Government Respond to Peaceful Protests by Live Ammunition Orchestrating AlJazeera and Seizing AlMowqef Newspaper
Cairo , December 29th , 2010
The Arabic Network for Human rights Information today denounced the security siege and the ruthless assaults on protesters and demonstrators in the recent protests in many Tunisian cities against unemployment and deteriorating economic conditions. Many Tunisians were arrested and tortured in police stations. Security opened fire on demonstrates leading to one young man killed and many injured. The Tunisian government is leading a crackdown on alJazeera for covering the riots and the security encroachments.
It all started on 17/12/2010, when a policeman in in Sidi Bouzeid stopped Mohamed Bouazizi , 26 years, a university graduate and a vegetable street vendor. The policeman insisted that Bouazizi should get a street vendor license or get off the market. The young man would leave his place in the market , so police forces ruthlessly beat him up in public and slapped him on the face. Bouazizi simply burnt himself publicly in protest to such insults stirring public rage.Citizens staged massive marches to support Bouazizi and to protest to extreme poverty and unemployment prevailing in Tunisia. Security responded by cordoning the city and forcibly dispersing citizens. Massive arrests were reported from the city.The young man taking his life two weeks ago sparked riots all over Tunisia not only in Sidi Bouzeid , but in Tunis, Qasrain, Qabis, Binzert, Sousa, BinQirdan , Qairowan, Gafsa, QarQena , elKaf, Baga and Qibly. Citizens staged massive protest that were violently suppressed.
On 25/12/2010, security tortured a citizen in Bouzyan police station in Sidi Bouzeid city. They just threw him on the street before the police station as he was in a very bad condition. When citizens demonstrated in front of the police station , police tried to disperse them by force and opened fire leading to the murder of Mohamed elBashir elMemary, 28 years, a university graduate. Two were injured but were promptly hospitalised.
Four Tunisian have been killed so far in the riots. Bouazizi took his own life , Mohamed el elMemary was shot dead by security, Lutfi Kadri from Sidi Bouzeid drowned himself in a well protesting against unemployment and Hussein elFalhy climbed a lamp post to protest , but was killed by an electric shock on 22/12/2010.
The Arabic Network expressed deep resentment over the crackdown launched by government and parties in Tunisia against alJazeera channel and all media covering the uprise. Earlier, the Tunisian parliament issued a statement describing alJazeera coverage as a “prejudiced media work” . As well , 4 recognised Tunisian parties issued similar statements in an attempt to gag the channel and stop them from covering the protests.
Another assault on freedom of expression and media freedoms occurred on 28/12/2010, when authorities collected the issue # 275 of “alMowkef” newspaper , a publication of the progressive democratic opposition party , from the market at the backdrop of covering the uprise in Tunisia.
The Arabic Network said,” The Tunisian government should stop oppressing people and stop violating the right to peaceful assembly. They have to stop their crackdown on media that exposed all incidents to the public opinion world wide. The government duty is to hold the officials responsible for killing the young man accountable and to respond to youth requirements instead of silencing them by force and restricting media”.
“The Tunisian government left no means to the Tunisians in order to express themselves. After the Scientific councils elections have been rigged , students assaulted, the government suppressed peaceful demonstrations , killed a young man and further launched a campaign to orchestrate alJazeera and seize a newspaper issue , introducing themselves as the one of the governments most hostile to freedom of expression on earth”, added ANHRI.