Protests After Journalist Sets Himself On Fire in Tunisia

Protests After Journalist Sets Himself On Fire in Tunisia

In Tunisia, a man himself lit himself almost exactly eight years after the greengrocer Mohamed Bouazizi had killed in the same way in protest against police arbitrariness and the bad social situation in the North African country and thus kick-started the Arab Spring.

On Monday, 32-year-old journalist Abderrazak Zorgui poured a flammable liquid in the city of Kasserine and set himself on fire. He died shortly afterward at the hospital of his injuries.

In a video on Facebook Zorgui had announced his act shortly before. “I will light myself in 20 minutes,” said the man. “I’ll start my revolution all by myself.”

As a trigger for his public suicide, the man named the unemployment and the bad economic situation in Kasserine. He accused the government of branding any protest as terrorism and wanted to stifle any contradiction in the bud.

On the night of Tuesday, a few hours after Zorgui’s self-immolation, dozens of demonstrators set up roadblocks in Kasserine. They blocked the main road with a barricade of burning car tires. The police used tear gas against the protesters. According to the Interior Ministry in Tunis, six security forces were slightly injured and nine people were arrested.

The National Association of Journalists called for solidarity demonstrations for Zorgui. The association accused the government of having neglected the fight against corruption and contributed to the journalist’s suicide.

Kasserine is located about 270 kilometers from the capital in the interior of Tunisia. The 100,000-inhabitant city was already during the revolution in 2010 and 2011 scene of clashes between protesters and security forces.

Again in the city, people demonstrated against the bad economic situation in recent years. The hilly countryside of Kasserine is considered a refuge for militant Islamists with links to the terrorist organizations “Islamic State” (IS) and al-Qaeda.

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