Stone throwing against tear gas fire: in Ettadhamen, a working-class district on the outskirts of Tunis, as in several other Tunisian cities, new nighttime disturbances broke out on Sunday January 17 despite sanitary confinement, a few days after the tenth anniversary of the revolution.
“If there was someone to judge our morons politicians … These delinquents are only the result of their failure!” “, plague Abdelmonem, a coffee waiter.
Dozens of young people, mostly minors between the ages of 14 and 17, have been arrested after clashes over the past three days, Khaled Hayouni, spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior told AFP on Sunday, a few days later. the tenth anniversary of the fall of the autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and his police regime.
If this anniversary was stifled by a general four-day confinement in an attempt to stem an outbreak of Covid-19 cases, it did not prevent the unrest, the exact reasons for which are not known. These clashes occur in a context of political instability and the deterioration of the social situation in Tunisia.
“No future here! “
In the streets, adolescents fill their pockets with stones. “It’s for the enemies”, says one of them happily, referring to the police officers.
The sound of the howling sirens does not cover that of the explosions of the fireworks thrown from the roofs of houses, from which young people were targeting at nightfall, with stones, an important device of the police and the National Guard ( gendarmerie).
” Go home ! “, launched with a loudspeaker of one of the gendarmes, at the moment when the security forces fired massive tear gas to disperse the groups present.
For Abdelmonem, “Bored young adolescents are the perpetrators of this violence”. But the 28-year-old believes that “It is the political class which is the cause of these tensions”.
Very lively between the different parties making up a fragmented Parliament since the 2019 elections, tensions weaken the government largely reshuffled on Saturday and awaiting a vote of confidence.
Divisions paralyze the country at a time when the social emergency is accentuated with the coronavirus pandemic (180,090 cases, including 5,692 deaths on January 18), to which are added the rise in unemployment and that of prices and put in evidence of the failure of public services.
“I don’t see any future here! Everything is sad, degraded, we are really in trouble! “, launches the waiter to AFP, nervously pulling on a cigarette, determined to go to sea “As soon as possible without ever coming back”.
The month of January is regularly the scene of mobilizations in Tunisia, because this period marks the anniversary of several major social and democratic struggles. But here, “These are not protest movements, they are young people who come from nearby neighborhoods to steal and have fun, said Osama, 26, a resident of Ettadhamen. If we protest, it will be the day and with our face uncovered. “
In Kram, a popular district in the north of Tunis, Sanad Attia, 18, was preparing to spend the evening outside despite the curfew which begins at 4 p.m., joining groups of young people in a tense face-to-face with the police.
“I quit school, it was useless, I trained with Olympique Kram to become a footballer, he explains. But with the Covid, the club is closed, we can not do anything. Now all I want is to go to Italy. “
In recent days, clashes have taken place in several working-class neighborhoods, notably in Tunis, Bizerte, Menzel Bourguiba (north), Sousse and Nabeul (east), Kasserine and Siliana (north-west), according to AFP correspondents and videos posted on the internet by residents. These showed young people in several towns burning tires, insulting the police or looting businesses.
On social networks, some Tunisians attributed this violence to the failure of the political class to improve the situation? Others accused groups of instrumentalizing these troubles to “Create chaos”.