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World Tunisia mothers decry wave of 'arbitrary' arrests after unrest

11:41  22 january  2021
11:41  22 january  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Tunisian protesters burned down a regional national security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting authorities to send in troops after police Tunisia 's unity government - which includes Islamists, secular parties and independents - has portrayed the unrest as driven by criminal elements.

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities arrested another 150 people including local opposition leaders on Friday, bringing the total detained close to 800 in response to demonstrations this week against price and tax rises. Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed

Mothers in the Tunisian capital are accusing authorities of arbitrarily arresting their children in response to several nights of unrest, with rights groups saying at least 1,000 people have been detained.

a group of people walking down the street in front of a crowd: Tunisian protesters block a street during clashes with security forces in the Ettadhamen city suburb on the outskirts of Tunis © FETHI BELAID Tunisian protesters block a street during clashes with security forces in the Ettadhamen city suburb on the outskirts of Tunis

"The policeman shoved the door of my building and arrested my son. My neighbours witnessed it," Meriem Ben Salem said after six nights of trouble on the streets between riot police and disaffected youths.

The 39-year-old mother said her son did not take part in the violence that gripped regions across Tunisia, including her working-class district of Kram-Ouest in Tunis.

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Unrest spread across Tunisia after the government imposed an anti-virus lockdown amid economic hardship. The unrest comes at a time many Tunisians are already increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of change since the Arab Spring broke out at the end of 2010.

Tunisian police have arrested more than 770 people since anti-austerity protests broke out this week in the North African country, according to state media and the UN human rights office.

"I work hard to earn money to enrol my children in extra-curricular activities to make sure they keep busy and not loiter in the neighbourhood because it's rife with drugs and alcohol," she said.

Her son Seifeddine, 18, was in the stairwell when the police "barged" in and grabbed him, said Ben Salem, who works as a seamstress in a factory for 500 dinars ($185) a month.

Seifeddine, a second-year student at a technical school with no criminal record, has been accused of taking part in acts of violence and is expected to stand trial on January 29.

"If my son had done something wrong, I would not defend him. He would have to assume responsibility for his actions," said Ben Salam.

- 'Procedural flaws' -

On Wednesday, Ben Salam and other mothers rallied outside a Tunis courthouse to denounce the arrests.

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Hundreds of youths clashed with police in cities across Tunisia late on Monday, throwing stones and gasoline bombs in the capital as security forces used tear gas and water cannons to try to quell the unrest . UP NEXT. NOW PLAYING: World. Tunisians protest after Arab Spring anniversary.

More than 600 people have been arrested and troops have been deployed after a third consecutive night of riots in several Tunisian cities, officials said Monday.

Some said their children were taken into custody for having violated a night-time curfew imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The protests erupted on January 14, before easing on Wednesday night, as the Covid-19 pandemic rattles an already embattled economy, 10 years after an uprising that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

At least 1,000 people, including many minors, have been arrested, human rights and other non-government groups told a news conference on Thursday.

"Some were arrested without even having taken part in the demonstrations," said Bassem Trifi of the Tunisian League of Human Rights.

Activists have been rounded up for voicing support for the protests on Facebook and other social media, and at least one of them now faces six years in jail if convicted, the groups said.

They warned that such arrests would fuel anger on the streets against security forces and turn the people against authorities.

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By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian protesters burned down a regional national security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting authorities to send in troops after police retreated, witnesses said, as unrest over prices and taxes continued nationwide.

The Tunisian Revolution, also called the Jasmine Revolution, was an intensive 28-day campaign of civil resistance. It included a series of street demonstrations which took place in Tunisia , and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

The authorities said Monday they had made 600 arrests, then reported another 70 over the following two days.

The protests come with the economy in free-fall, youth unemployment soaring and anger mounting against the political leadership.

Much of the unrest hit working-class neighbourhoods, where a decade after the revolution youths still clamour for jobs and "dignity" -- key demands of the uprising.

Ben Salam said she was only allowed to see her son three days after his arrest, and when they reunited he was in tears.

"He had been beaten on the legs and had a black eye," said her husband Mohammed, a day labourer.

Oumeyma Mehdi, from the NGO Lawyers Without Borders, said most of the cases against those detained contained "serious procedural flaws".

Minors, she said, were being detained unlawfully and would have to go on trial in the absence of their parents or representatives of child protection services.

Those arrested and detained as adults are being deprived of lawyers, medical assistance and barred from contacting their parents, Mehdi added.

Some lawyers have said more than 100 people have already been sentenced in a hearing that lasted just four hours.

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Tunisia parliament reshuffles cabinet as protesters face off against police .
Hundreds of anti-government protesters faced off against riot police outside the Tunisian parliament Tuesday as lawmakers inside confirmed a cabinet reshuffle amid growing unrest. Security forces have carried out mass arrests during more than a week of night-time riots and daytime protests against police repression, poverty, inequality and corruption. Tunisia has often been praised as a rare success story for its democratic transition after the Arab Spring regional uprisings sparked by its 2011 revolution.

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