World in View: Tunisia youth protest

June 29, 2021

From the July-August 2021 issue of News & Letters

by Gerry Emmett

On June 9, Tunis police arrested a 15-year-old boy. He was beaten and stripped naked before being shoved into a police car—all of it caught on video. This created outrage when it hit social media sites.

Police accused him of public intoxication. The boy said, “They kept beating me at the security center, and accused me of inciting riots and chaos.”

In response to public outcry, the Ministry of Interior announced that the officers had been suspended and the incident would be investigated. This didn’t satisfy the many youths who entered into violent clashes with police on June 13.

Human rights activist Jamal Muslim said, “Unfortunately, the scenes of a young Tunisian citizen being dragged naked in a public street and violently assaulted raise doubts about the police reform plan launched after the 2011 revolution.”

This year over 2,000 youths have been arrested in protests, many having been beaten and some tortured. Ten years ago, it was an unexpected revolt in Tunisia that began the Arab Spring revolutions that shook the world. Many of the social and economic problems around the world—food and housing prices, arrogant elites—are at 2010 levels or worse.

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