Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tunisians continue their protest

(Updated) According to the blogging and twittering community the Tunesian authorities have succeeded to block Facebook in Tunisia and many other entries that hithterto functioned. That is the main reason that news of the uprising in Tunisia was rather fragmentarian on Thursday, if not absent from most media and sites.
One of the few sites that is still functioning (but not within Tunisia) is Nawaat de Tunisie. It produced some video's, three of which I copied here, as a kind of proof that the protests are continuing. The first is from a demonstration in Feriana, in the West of the country, it ends with the police shooting with live ammunition:

فيديو: مشاهد من عملية حرق مقر معتمدية فريانه #sidibouzid ((tagL video, sidi bouzid, feryana from tunisians on Vimeo.

The second is a protest in the northern Jendouba governorate:

The third is from Mahdia, where the people were chanting that they want work, freedom, dignity and patriotism. 

Nawaat also gave information. One protester, Chawki ben Lakhdar ben Houssine (44) died in hospital in Sfax. He had been hit several days ago by live ammunition at his spinal cord during a demonstration in Menzel Bouzaiène.  Thurday there were demonstrations at the URT, regional trade union headquarters in Sidi Bouzid. In Jebiniani a demonstration was interrupted by the police. A number of protesters was wounded, two of them seriously.  The same happened to a protest in Monastir. In Sousse a manifestation of lawyers was repressed. Some of the lawyers were wounded, some telephones were taken from them. There were also protests in Mehdia, Djerba , in Makhtar in the Siliana governorate and a protest that was announced on Facebook in Bab Jazira was prohibited by the police.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali sacked the governor of the region of Sidi Bouzid where the protests had begun. Mourad Ben Jalloul was dismissed on Thursday, as Ben Ali's government struggles to respond to the political crisis the protests have provoked. Three ministers and two governors have now been removed for reasons relating to the popular uprising, including Oussama Romdhani, the communications minister.

The protests are, it appears, still widespread and continuing. That is - when taking into account the amount of  repression under this dictatorial regime  - an event of immense importance, with possibly a huge impact on neighbouring countries  that hardly know more freedom. Some compare the events with Romania before the fall of Ceausescu and maybe that is no exaggeration. But that been said, it is important to give the protests the attention they deserve. The Tunisian people fight against a government that is seen as an ally of the West and a champion of free enteprise. Therefor they can't count on too much help. They need our attention and support.

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