Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

What you need to know about Tunisia’s anti-racism protests

What you need to know about Tunisia’s anti-racism protests

President Kais Saied says ‘hordes’ of sub-Saharan migrants are causing crime and pose a demographic threat to the North African country, leading to accusations of racism and demonstrations.

Hundreds of people have protested on the streets of the Tunisian capital to denounce President Kais Saied, accusing him of racist comments and hate speech against refugees.

The demonstrators marched on Saturday to denounce racism and demand that the president apologise for his remarks, which included claims of a plot to erase Tunisia’s identity by overrunning it with sub-Saharan Africans.

As the situation becomes tenser and riskier for sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia, AFP reported on Saturday that Ivorians were heading to their embassy in Tunis to ask for help leaving the country.

Here is what you need to know about the protests:

Who are the sub-Saharan people living in Tunisia?

Tunisia is a key departure point for refugees trying to reach Europe on what the United Nations says is the world’s deadliest migration route.

The country lies about 130km (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa at its closest point.

More than 21,000 sub-Saharan Africans live in Tunisia, including those with student visas and other legal residencies, according to the FTDES advocacy group, which cited official figures.

Many people from Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea and the Ivory Coast work in poorly paid, informal jobs to get by and save up for attempts to reach Italy.

Ivorians wait outside the Ivory Coast’s embassy in Tunis for their repatriation to Abidjan on February 24, 2023

What did Saied say?

At a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday, Saied said “hordes” of sub-Saharan migrants were causing crime and posed a demographic threat to Tunisia.

He said “urgent measures” were needed to address the entry of people from sub-Saharan countries, accusing them of “violence” and “crimes”.

“The undeclared goal of the successive waves of illegal immigration is to consider Tunisia a purely African country that has no affiliation to the Arab and Islamic nations,” Saied claimed.

He alleged that unnamed parties had settled sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia over the past decade in return for money, according to comments published by the presidency online.

Dozens of sub-Saharan Africans have been arrested this month in a major crackdown.

What has the reaction been in Tunisia?

The protesters on Saturday denounced Saied’s comments and the actions taken against migrants by authorities.

“Down with fascism, Tunisia is an African country,” they chanted. “President of shame, apologise,” they demanded.

Artists, human rights activists and members of civil society groups took part in the rally.

Romdhane Ben Amor, a spokesperson for the Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights, said the number of racist assaults against sub-Saharan Africans had increased after Saied’s remarks.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests on February 25, 2023

“We noted attempts to drive some migrants out of their homes,” he told AP news agency. “Others are being prevented from taking public transportation.”

Tunisian comedian Fatma Saidane denounced “deplorable actions” targeting some sub-Saharan people and called on people to show a civic-minded attitude.

“We must not assault or insult people who live on our soil in the same way we don’t accept our compatriots to be ill-treated in Europe,” she said, according to AP.

The Saied government has come under severe criticism from opposition and human rights groups in recent months for arresting political opponents who have criticised his rule and the economic woes the North African country finds itself in.

In July 2021, Saied shut down parliament, dismissed the government and moved to rule by decree before rewriting the constitution, moves his critics call a coup that has pulled apart the democracy built after Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.

What has been the reaction in Africa?

The African Union has condemned Tunisia and urged it to avoid “racialised hate speech”.

“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission HE Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the shocking statement issued by Tunisian authorities targeting fellow Africans which go against the letter and the spirit of our Organization and founding principles,” a statement from the African Union said.

It reminded Tunisia of its obligations within the 55-member bloc. Faki said member states are obligated “to treat all migrants with dignity, wherever they come from; refrain from racialised hate speech that could bring people to harm; and prioritise their safety and human rights”.


Related Articles

Saudi Press
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
This is how an electric car saves all the energy that he would have spent if he had lived 50 years longer.
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
Social Media censoring users for saying the true
Smart Iranian fashion designer teaching dummy TV anchors lesson about reality
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Announcing GPT-4
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
Saudi Arabia has announced a major breakthrough in diplomacy with Iran after two years of intense talks
A Mississippian man, who was once considered a “ticking time bomb,” has lost a whopping 165 kilograms! What motivated this incredible transformation?
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Watch: “They are wounded but unbowed, unbreakable.”
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Old clip of Bill Gates saying Ukraine is a big, fat, corrupt sinkhole is going viral
Saudi Arabia To Introduce Yoga In Universities
Middle East real estate market to see strong growth in 2023, predicts CBRE.
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
Saudi Aramco, the energy giant, has acquired Valvoline Inc., a US-based oil company, for $2.65 billion
How do stolen goods end up on Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace?
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...