Riots and protests in Sidi Bou Zid Governorate in Tunisia enter their seventh day. During the last week spontaneous protests and riots erupted in Sidi Bou Zid protesting unemployment, poverty, and austerity measures.
The Riots were triggered last week by the suicide of young man Mohamed Bu Azizi, who after failing to find a job for few years, and unable to provide for himself put himself on fire. A tragic event that was followed a day after by the public suicide of Hussein Nagi who intentionally electrocuted himself in public till death while shouting “No to misery, No to unemployment”. These tragic events triggered continuous riots in rural central Tunisia.
Riots in Sidi Bou Zid
Yesterday the riots escalated after the Tunisian national guards forces opened fire directly at protesters in the town of Bouziane, killing 18 year-old Mohamed Beshir El Amary, one of the protesters, and critically injuring two others.
While the ministry of interior admitted responsibility for El-Amary’s death, claiming that it was in self-defense; hundreds of protesters surrounded the local police station, throwing torches and molotov cocktails at the building, putting tens of police cars on fire and clashing with cops. Today two sit-ins were held in solidarity with the Tunisian riots on the doors of the Tunisian embassy in London and Paris.
Currently, the riots continue for the night, while the police announces a curfew on Bouziane.
Tunisia has been ruled by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali for the last 23 years; a classic junta dictator. Under the rule of Ben Ali the government has continuously applied aggressive economical adjustment policies suggested by the IMF and the World Bank. These policies lead to gradual cuts in the social welfare system and rising unemployment, specially in rural governorates like Sidi Bou Zid. Lately, the economic situation in Tunisia was strongly effected by the economic crisis in the European Union, its ally and main trading partner.