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8th Anniversary of Tunisian Uprising Sees Individual, Collective Suicide Attempts

8th Anniversary of Tunisian Uprising Sees Individual, Collective Suicide Attempts

Friday, 28 December, 2018 - 10:30
Tunisians wave national flags during general strike on April 11, 2017, in Tataouine (AFP)
Tunis - Mongi Saidani, Kamal bin Yunis
Security and media sources reported that several individual and collective suicide attempts were carried out in several Tunisian cities, during which desperate young people and children tried to end their lives because of the deteriorating social conditions, failure of the authorities to achieve development and eradicate poverty, marginalization and unemployment.

A young man, who’s a taxi driver, tried Thursday to end his life at a taxi station in the center of the capital, but his colleagues, on a strike, prevented him.

The incident came a few days after another young man from the town of Jebiniana, in Sfax governorate, set himself on fire during violent protests of hundreds of unemployed men, which escalated into violent clashes with the security forces that fired tear gas at protesters.

The security officers managed to save him, but he and a security man sustained few burn injuries.

These suicide attempts are not considered sole incidents, with various individual and collective suicide threats carried out since the beginning of this month.

A sit-in staged inside Redeyef municipality demanding employment and development witnessed a suicide attempt when a young man poured gasoline on himself and was about to set himself on fire before other protesters and some municipal officials stopped him.

According to a number of social studies centers in Tunisia, over 300 young men and women committed suicide in Tunisia since Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in 2010. Also, about 2000 suicide attempts have failed thanks to the intervention of family members, friends and security men.

In Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Fafsa, Sfax and the capital Tunis, people continue to protest unemployment and poverty, tax increases, and lack of development and investment in poor cities and populated neighborhoods.

Overnight protests renewed in six areas, including Kasserine, where photojournalist Abdel Razzaq Zrogi died. During these protests, security forces arrested 26 suspects.

Several government parties accused the "Red Vests Movement", derived from the French "yellow jackets" protest, of fueling the social protests.

Interior Minister Hichem Fourati chaired a meeting for security leaders in the Jendouba governorate, on the border with Algeria, where unemployment rates and poverty are high. The meeting discussed urgent security issues in the country's provinces, including violence, organized crime, terrorism, drugs and smuggling.

The Minister announced that the security authorities will allow social and youth protests as long as they do not develop into acts of violence and terrorism, while night rallies and protests will be prevented.

In Sfax, Tunisia's second largest city, authorities revealed details of the house of a businessman accused of corruption, which contained huge amounts of red vests, banners and leaflets, and explained that political groups from the far-left, led by activist Najib Djiri, were planning to hand them out during violent clashes planned on the 8th anniversary of the Tunisian uprising.

In the presidential palace in Carthage, President Beji Caid Essebsi chaired the meeting of the Supreme Council of armies, in the presence of Tunisian Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi, along with several military and security officials. The meeting discussed military and security developments as well as the difficulties facing the military.

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