Tunisia Mothers Decry Wave Of 'arbitrary' Arrests After Unrest
Umer Jamshaid 1 month ago Fri 22nd January 2021 | 02:36 PM
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
Le Kram (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Jan, 2021 ) :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.
"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.
"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.
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.
They warned that such arrests would fuel anger on the streets against security forces and turn the people against authorities.
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.
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.