In Tunisia, a tragic death in Sbeitla



How not to think about the immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, in Sidi Bouzid, who launched the Tunisian revolution and opened the era of the Arab Spring almost ten years ago? In Sbeitla, about forty kilometers from Sidi Bouzid and about thirty from Kasserine, in this deprived Tunisia of the interior, a tragedy occurred on the night of October 12 to 13.

Abderrazek Khachnaoui, a man in his fifties, was killed, run over by a bulldozer that came to destroy, on the orders of the local authorities, the informal newspaper and cigarette kiosk in which he slept. According to the Amal association based in Kasserine, the 50-year-old, an employee of the municipality, had precisely installed himself in his son’s kiosk to prevent its destruction …

Demonstration in the streets of Sbeitla

The following morning, residents expressed their anger in the streets of Sbeitla. The security forces responded with tear gas and the army was even called in for reinforcement.

Hichem Mechichi, the head of government, announced the opening of an investigation. He requested that the victim’s family benefit from“A material and moral framework” and dismissed the governor and the regional delegate, as well as the head of the security district and the head of the Sbeitla municipal police station. The latter was taken into custody by the Kasserine court.

“Of course we have to apply the law, but we do not destroy facilities at night”, protested Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesperson for the Tunisian forum for economic and social rights. “Almost half of the population lives off parallel trade, it is not possible to prevent people from finding a way to live without offering them an alternative, he adds indignantly the social situation is extremely tense, the anger rate is very high ”.

A third of the inhabitants of Sbeitla are poor

Even more than Sidi Bouzid, Sbeitla, with its 75,000 inhabitants, is part of the very disadvantaged areas of central and southern Tunisia. According to the poverty survey of the Tunisian Institute of Statistics published in September, Sbeitla has a poverty rate of 33%, more than double the national average (15.2%).

And again, this assessment is based on data from 2014 and 2015, before the situation deteriorated due to persistent political crises and the sledgehammer attributable to the coronavirus. “Protests are increasing a lot in these regions, and it is no longer just the unemployed or people who demand access to water who demonstrate, those who work in the informal sector, in tourism, etc., join the ranks. dissatisfied “, notes Romdhane Ben Amor.

A sign of growing despair according to him, more than 8,000 Tunisians have taken to sea in three months, from July to September.

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