Tunisia deals with violent protests, arrests over sub-Saharan migrants

By Laureen Fagan - 5 July 2023 at 7:37 pm
Tunisia deals with violent protests, arrests over sub-Saharan migrants

Clashes continued Wednesday in the coastal Tunisian city of Sfax, where a resident’s death has reportedly sparked a backlash against migrants in the North African nation known as a transit hub for people traveling from sub-Saharan countries in search of Europe.

African migrants have been driven from Sfax, according to France 24 reports, amid arrests and violent protests calling for their removal. Accounts posted to social media from citizens and other news outlets share disturbing images and videos of migrants facing mass expulsion, stranded at bus stations or dumped in the desert with no food or water.

Some reports say migrants have been thrown from balconies and buildings in Sfax, and others include accounts of sword attacks against migrants, with at least 30 to 40 people injured.

The social media images have not been independently verified by Africa Times, but multiple accounts depict what Italian journalist Francesca Totolo described as an increasingly explosive situation.

Tunisia’s tensions over migrants have been made worse by the rhetoric from President Kais Saïed, claiming that “hordes of irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa” are changing the demographic makeup of Arab Tunisia, and that Black migrants are the cause of violence, crime, and other social ills.

Amnesty International reported an uptick in attacks on Black migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in February and March, though Tunisian authorities originally denied any racism against them.

 

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at @laureen@m.ai6yr.org

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