Tunisia: Investigate alarming use of force on peaceful protesters demanding jobs

Tunisian authorities must launch a thorough, independent and effective investigation into a violent crackdown to disperse what is known as the El-Kamour sit-in between 20 and 23 June 2020, said Amnesty international in a detailed statement issued today.

People are protesting because they’re living in difficult economic situations. Instead of beating and arresting them, the government should focus on addressing the underlying issues that have led people to come out onto the streets time and again
Amna Guellali

Protesters in Tataouine, a city in the south of the country, were demanding the implementation of a 2017 agreement with the government to create jobs when police intervened to disperse the sit-in. Amnesty International has concluded that security forces arbitrarily arrested dozens of protesters and used unnecessary and excessive force, including through beatings and the deployment of tear gas.

Anyone found to be responsible for having used force unlawfully, including brutally beating protesters and firing tear gas indiscriminately, must be brought to account
Amna Guellali

Amnesty International conducted interviews with 16 individuals, including six arrested in the context of the protests, people exposed to tear gas during them, eyewitnesses to the actions of the security forces, two medical professionals who treated people hospitalized after exposure to tear gas and a local journalist. Amnesty International reviewed photographs and video footage filmed by protesters and local reporters, and studied statements by the Ministry of Interior and local authorities.

“People are protesting because they’re living in difficult economic situations. Instead of beating and arresting them, the government should focus on addressing the underlying issues that have led people to come out onto the streets time and again,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Only an independent investigation can deter the use of excessive force in the future. Anyone found to be responsible for having used force unlawfully, including brutally beating protesters and firing tear gas indiscriminately, must be brought to account.”