Le Figaro: The Kais Saied regime is slipping into the fold of security repression

The French newspaper Le Figaro said that the death of a Tunisian citizen last Wednesday in a hospital in the capital, against the backdrop of his participation in a demonstration against President Kais Saied on January 14, is an accident that threatens to slip the regime in Tunisia into a turning point of repression and security violence.

and in a report Published by the newspaper, writer Marilyn Dumas says that the violent confrontations that erupted between the police and demonstrators last Friday, on the anniversary of the escape of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, also led to the injury of a number of people, including journalists.

The Tunisian authorities had banned demonstrations on this day, claiming to contain the spread of the Corona virus, but about a thousand people gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, before confrontations erupted with the security forces that killed the protester, Reda Bouziane.

The Ennahda Movement confirmed in a statement issued on Wednesday that the victim – a 57-year-old dentist and member of its branch in Sousse (150 km south of Tunis) – “died of a severe cerebral hemorrhage resulting from severe violence by security forces during his participation in the 14 demonstrations. January”.

A judicial source said that it was reported that a wounded man in his fifties had arrived at the hospital on Friday, while the authorities confirmed that initial examinations “did not show any signs of violence.”

The writer believes that there are doubts about the official version, as video clips from the protests showed scenes of violence, beatings, the use of tear gas and water cannons, a degree of violence and security repression that Tunisia has not witnessed for years.

The writer adds that the newspaper’s press team witnessed three incidents during the demonstration that prove the security violence, namely the random beating with batons, an elderly man suffocating an elderly man by the neck and forcibly stripping a journalist of his phone.

For its part, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists said that about 20 attacks targeted journalists during the demonstration, denouncing what it described as “dangerous and unprecedented security attacks” and “increasing restrictions on freedoms.”

The French newspaper Libertaion, Mathieu Galtier, was also attacked while filming the arrest of a protester by police. Galtier says that the police “beat me from all directions, I was on the ground crumpled on myself, and I was screaming, saying I’m a journalist. Someone sprayed me with gas at close range.”

Galtier was later taken to a security center, and in front of a number of journalists who turned there to wait for him, one of the policemen sarcastically said, “He breathed a little gas, like all of us, this is the case in all demonstrations,” which shows – according to the writer – the immunity she enjoys Tunisian security forces.

cautious denunciation

The French authorities cautiously denounced the “violence” incidents through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassy in Tunisia, noting “their adherence to freedom of the media and freedom of the press in Tunisia.”

On the other hand, Reporters Without Borders raised the alarm through a report issued on Wednesday entitled “Journalism in Tunisia: The Moment of Truth.”

The organization’s Secretary-General, Christophe Deloire, said, “We are deeply concerned about this shift towards authoritarianism.. In addition to being among the gains of the revolution, freedom and independence of the press are inseparable from the future of democracy in Tunisia. We call on the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, to strictly adhere to the respect of the constitution and international obligations in the field of Freedom of the press and media.

The Tunisian authorities did not comment on the violence that took place at the January 14 demonstration, with President Said saying only that he “will not tolerate those who seek to harm the state or exploit its apparatus for personal purposes.”

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