Aswat Nissa

Police Brutality during the Protest Against the Administrative Reconciliation Law

Many protestors were hurt by police agents during a protest against the Law on Administration Reconciliation organized in fron of the parliament on September 13th.

Saida (aged 34) was one of the victims and witnesses of the police brutality. “I saw a policeman slap and hit one of the protestors in the head with a device he had in his hand. Another protestor had tattered clothes, and almost all the protestors on the front line received blows. The policeman who attacked the protestor in the head was replaced with another, since everybody had seen what he had done. When the night fell, the lights were turned off in front of the parliament and the policemen started pushing the protestors to make them move backwards. They barricaded the whole street and only left the sidewalk to protest.

This is where the assaults took place. I was in the front line and the policemen were telling us to move backwards, but we were telling them we couldn’t anymore since no space was left behind. We told them they should tell us to leave, but not to move backwards. The policemen started insulting and screaming at us. I received a hit from one of the agents in the leg, and immediately, I felt one of them touching my private parts.

I was enraged! This is when I was hit with a baton in the same area. I was hysterical and my friends pulled me back and gave me water to calm me down. At one point, there weren’t any girls in the front line.”

Another protestor, Boutheina (aged 38), painted a similar grim portrait: “We were trying to push the fence (since the policemen had closed the whole road) when I saw a protestor of Manich Msemah having her hair pulled by one of the policemen. We had the feeling of being choked, they were surrounding the protestors with the fences and were hitting them in the legs. Two protestors were hit with a baton on the shoulder. I asked one of the policemen why they were insulting and pushing us. He answered that he was simply doing his job. Many of the victims of the assaults were girls.”

Two activists from Aswat Nissa, Sarra Ben Saïd and Farah ben Mna, were verbally assaulted by the policemen present at the protests. The insults and the provocations were numerous.

Police agents are supposed to protect citizens and make sure that the law is respected. Such abuse and behavior by police unfortunately recall the techniques used by the old regime. Aswat Nissa condemns all forms of verbal and physical brutality against citizens and calls the police to be respectful of protestors in the future.