TUNISIA: On Saturday, hundreds of people in Tunisia’s capital city protested the president’s anti-immigrant crackdown.
On Tuesday, President Kais Saied accused undocumented sub-Saharan migrants of being part of a plan to change the country’s character amid broader actions against his critics, igniting long-simmering racial tensions.
Since the president’s speech, there have been reports on social media of mob violence, such as groups of people storming the homes of migrant families and forcing them to leave.
There have been reports of private transportation companies refusing to sell tickets to people who don’t have papers, and many groups in the community are working hard to find places for the homeless to stay.
Young, educated activists in Tunisia, who usually work against the country’s former political class rather than for it, have found common ground with the politicians and former judges who are being arbitrarily arrested and put on trial because of rising racial tensions.
Regarding Tunisia’s position as a popular transit country for refugees and asylum seekers, she said, “This is a land that should be open for everyone, and Tunisia should not be the police for any kind of border, northern or southern.”
People in the march carried signs, some of which were in English, that showed their support for migrants and Tunisia’s membership in Africa.
The Ministry of the Interior seemed to be taking a light-handed approach to the protest, and there were hardly any police at the event.
When Saied took the dramatic action of suspending the nation’s assembly and ousting the prime minister in July 2021, many of those protesting at the time applauded it. However, a president who appears fixated on changing the country’s constitution at the expense of tackling its long-term decline has lost support as a result of food shortages and the faltering economy.
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