By: Steve Dellar | 12-26-2018 | News
Photo credit: Twitter @MiddleEastEye.png

Tunisia - Journalist ‘Suicide’ Starts Violent Mass Protests (Video)

One week after 2 Scandinavian girls were beheaded in Morocco and the European press once again highlighted the plight of several North African countries who have not seen their living conditions improve ever since the so-called Arab spring (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt), a similar ‘revolution’ could be starting in Tunisia again.

You may recall that the Arab spring started in January 2010 when a young street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in order to protests against the harsh living conditions in Tunisia and the widespread corruption.

In fact, he was disillusioned when police had taken away his license to sell wares in the street as he didn’t have the money to ‘bribe’ them. His ‘suicide’ was followed by widespread rioting and revolution which soon overtook the whole of Tunisia and from there spread to Libya and Egypt.

In the process, the Tunisian longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled and his removal unleashed a chain of similar movements throughout the Middle East.

This Monday, a journalist named Abderrazak Zorgui did a similar thing. He set himself on fire and filmed it on Facebook live, calling for a revolution over poor living conditions and corruption.

His death has already triggered violent protests in the provincial city of Kasserine that now threaten to spread all over Tunisia.

Given the likeness between his action and that which set off the original Arab Spring, other Middle East nations are looking towards the clashes in Kasserine with a weary eye.

Clashes between protesters and police erupted for the second day on Christmas yesterday.

The video which he put online before his self-immolation in the provincial city of Kasserine, in which he lamented unemployment, poverty, and corruption has since spread.

"For the sons of Kasserine who have no means of subsistence, today I start a revolution. I am going to set myself on fire," Mr. Zorgui said in the video. He died Monday five hours after being taken to the hospital.

His death sparked protests Monday night as youth set tires ablaze and blocked streets, prompting police to fire tear gas. Six police officers were injured and several protesters arrested.

After Zorgui's funeral on Tuesday renewed clashes erupted in the impoverished city, some 165 miles from the capital Tunis. Authorities, eager to maintain the peace, also deployed reinforcements on the main streets of Kasserine.

The National Union of Tunisian Journalists said Zorgui had died protesting "difficult social conditions ... and a lack of hope."

Despite Tunisia's democratic transition the country has suffered from low economic growth, corruption, poor living conditions, and an al-Qaeda and "Islamic State" presence.

The country’s tourism business has suffered harshly ever since two attacks on European tourists. The first one a museum in the capital, the second on a beach with British tourists who were sunbathing.


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