Tunisian Sidi Hassine neighbourhood witnessed riots and violent protests against police abuse, a week after violence broke out in the over the death of a man in police custody.
Last week, a video of police stripping and beating a young man shared on social media triggered widespread anger among the public. A few days later the death of a man in police custody sparked protests in Sidi Hassine, in the outskirts of Tunis.
The man was arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs but the family accused the police of beating him to death. Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who is also the interim interior minister, has denied the allegation.
On Tuesday, hundreds gathered in Sidi Hassine with slogans against the government and called on officials to stop police abuse and punish those involved.
They chanted: “Freedom, freedom, the police state is over.”
The United Nations human rights office in Tunisia said on Monday it was concerned about repeated allegations of serious violations by the Tunisian police amid violent protests.
Forty-three organisations, including the journalists’ syndicate, unions, the lawyers’ syndicate and the Human Rights League, called for a massive national protest on Friday to end what they say is police impunity.
They said that they filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Mechichi.
More than 10 years after the Arab Spring revolutionary protests against poverty, injustice and a police state, Tunisia has made progress towards democracy but its economic problems have worsened, which has led to repeated protests.
During the most recent January protests, police arrested more than 2,000 people, most of them minors.