On April 13, 2012, police clashed with a group of young protestors from Cité El Mallaha in the port of Radès, just south of the capital Tunis and considered to be a suburb of it. The clashes started that night, a Friday, and continued into the following week. The protesters were staging a sit-in, demanding a share of some jobs which had been recently created in Radès port, near Cité El Mallaha.
The police fired tear gas at the protestors, dispersing them. They then chased them, even onto rooftops. Some protestors were detained, which led to further protests and clashes.
Protesters in Cité El Mallaha in Radès. Photo from machhad.com (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Blogger Tounsiahourra tweeted [ar]:
@tounsiahourra: ليلة دامية في حي الملاحة رادس -ضواحي تونس- تم فك اعتصام الشباب بالقوة وباستعمال الغاز مما تسبب في حالات اختناق المتساكنين داخل بيوتهم #Rades
@tounsiahourra: A bloody night in Cité El Mallaha in Radès, a suburb of Tunis. The sit-in was broken up by force and by using tear gas which suffocated some residents inside their homes #Rades
She added [ar]:
@tounsiahourra: سهام بن سدرين تطالب بتحقيق في قمع المعتصمين في حي الملاحة واقتحام بيوت المواطنين في الحي من قبل عناصر الأمن واستعمالهم العنف ضدهم
@tounsiahourra: Sihem Ben Sidrine [human rights activist] demands an investigation into the repression of the protestors in Cité El Mallaha, as well as how police broke into the homes of citizens in the neighbourhood, and used violence against them
@Haykel7: markez ecchorta fel Maléha #Rades totalement brûlé hier #tunisie #tngov
@Haykel7: The police station in El Mallaha, #Rades was completely burned yesterday #tunisie #tngov
Twitter user Narjess expressed her fear about the increase in clashes between protesters and police:
@NJESSREB: La question qui se pose:vont-il prolonger l'état d urgence qui prend fin le 30 avril? #OmLaarayes #Rades #1Mai #Tourisme #Tunisie
@NJESSREB: We may well ask: will they [the government] extend the state of emergency which ends on April 30?
Blogger Wessim tweeted [ar]:
@Wessimsara: تعتيم على التلفزة التونسية حول أحداث حي الملاحة برادس
@Wessimsara: Media blackout by Tunisian national television of the incidents in Cité El Mallaha, Radès
Tounsiahourra criticized the media blackout [ar]:
@tounsiahourra: وفيما الغاز المسيل يغطي حي الملاحة برادس , تختار النشرة الاخبارية الجهوية لقناة تونس أن تبدأ بخبر عن موسم الحج واتصال مع وزير الشؤون الدينية
@tounsiahourra: While tear gas covers Cité El Mallaha in Radès, the regional news bulletin of Tunisia TV chooses to start with news of the Hajj season and a conversation with the Minister of Religious Affairs
Med Salah M'Barek tweeted:
@MidoxTheGeek:#Radès est à 10~15 km du siège de #TTN et aucune équipe n'a été envoyée pour couvrir les évènements !!!
@MidoxTheGeek: #Rades is 10-15km from the headquarters of #TTN [Tunisia's national TV] and no crew was sent to cover the events!!!
Official media openness
Tunisia's television channels may have ignored the events, but the government didn't. On Twitter Global Voices Advocacy Director Sami Ben Gharbia linked to photos published on Facebook by the Tunisian Interior Ministry.
Lebanese blogger Habib Battah narrates how he was held against his consent, forced to delete photographs of ruins from his phone camera and repeatedly assaulted in this post on the Beirut Report. When he reported the case to his local police station, the officers in charge said it was his word against theirs. He adds:
Yemeni blogger Noon Arabia writes an open letter to US President Barak Obama in which she says:
All Yemenis are against terrorism and condemn Al-Qaeda, yet are also against the violent and unethical use of predator drones in combating them. We are against the death of civilians, whom you refer to as collateral damage in the war against terror. We are against the long-term effects on their communities and their lives. We are against any extrajudicial killings.