Several hundred demonstrators protested this Saturday in Tunis against racism and a “fascist” discourse against migrants from sub-Saharan African countries, asking President Kais Saied to apologize to this community.
“Down with fascism, Tunisia is an African land”, “Solidarity with undocumented migrants” or even “President of shame apologize”, chanted the protesters including artists, human rights activists and representatives of Civil society.
“Tunisia is a welcoming country”
Gathered in front of the headquarters of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, the demonstrators marched to Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the main artery in the center of Tunis, under the control of plainclothes police, according to AFP journalists. “Tunisia is moving from a democratic process to a fascist process” or “No to racism”, could be read on the signs held up by demonstrators.
“I am addressing my sub-Saharan and sub-Saharan brothers and sisters, I am addressing the people who have been deprived of their voices, I say to you: ”courage!” Tunisia is not a country like we presented, Tunisia is a host country. Don’t be afraid, we are with you”, shouted, in front of the crowd, Saadia Mosbah, president of the anti-racist association Mnemty, very active in the defense of the black minority in Tunisia.
African Union condemnation
On Tuesday, President Saied advocated “urgent measures” against the illegal immigration of nationals of sub-Saharan African countries, saying that their presence in Tunisia was a source of “violence, crimes and unacceptable acts”.
He also denounced the arrival of “hordes of clandestine migrants”, according to him, part of a “criminal enterprise hatched at the dawn of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia”, so that it is considered as an “African only” country and blur its “Arab-Muslim” character.
“This speech, which calls for violence and hatred, shames us and does not represent Tunisia and Tunisians,” Raoudha Seibi, an official of the Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities who took part, told AFP. at the demonstration.
After numerous protests from Tunisian and international NGOs, the chairman of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said in a statement issued on Friday, “strongly condemn the shocking statements made by the Tunisian authorities against fellow Africans , which go against the letter and the spirit of our Organization and our founding principles”.