Agence France-Presse (AFP), an international news agency headquartered in Paris, France, reported that protests broke out over the death of a man on October 13th in Tunisia, where the “Arab Spring” began in 2010. The Tunisian government is investigating what led to the man’s death.
Witnesses recounted that in Sbeitla, Tunisia, a 49-year-old man died on the morning of the 13th when a bulldozer demolished the cigarette kiosk he was sleeping in. The kiosk belonged to his son.
The victim’s son, Osama Khachnaoui, 25, told the press that he had not received any notice from the authorities prior to the demolition of the kiosk. He condemned the authorities for not checking to make sure the kiosk was empty before they demolished it.
“My father died instantly on the spot,” Khachnaoui said. “Security officers fired tear gas at our family when we tried to get to the kiosk in an effort to save him.”
When the news came out, many citizens, including the many impoverished who also run kiosks to survive, exploded in anger. Citizens of Sbeitla have been complaining for a long time that the police treat the people brutally.
Enraged protesters threw stones at the police, installed roadblocks, and burned tires. The Tunisian government has deployed additional soldiers and security forces at the city hall to protect the building.
Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced publicly that he fully supports the Khachnaoui family. Mechini immediately replaced the local police chief as well as the chief security officer of the town. He added that the Ministry of Home Affairs would provide “moral and financial” support to the victim’s family.
This incident is being compared to the suicide by self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor in 2010, which triggered the start of the “Arab Spring.” A young man named Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire in public and died as a protest against police brutality, corruption, and poverty caused by rampant unemployment in Tunisia. His death led to a massive civil unrest called the Jasmine Revolution, which 28 days later resulted in the forced ousting of the longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had been in power since 1989, in January of 2011. The Jasmine Revolution evolved into the Arab Spring, a chain reaction of anti-government protests and revolutions that spread to many other countries across the Middle East, also leading to the overthrowing of several other governments in the next 3 years until the end of 2012.
Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake,
That He might make His mighty power known.
(Psalm 106:8, NKJV)
Amen. God, we are hearing that due to a man’s death, many Tunisian people are enraged are clashing with police in Sbeitla.
In these end times, as love grows cold and conflicts between people grow hot, the world is descending into chaos. But we believe that Tunisia and all nations are being led to see the work of salvation You have done on the cross, for Your great name’s sake. Lord, allow the Tunisian people who have grown cold to be filled with desperation for You. May only the name of Jesus Christ be preached among this people!
We pray especially for the Tunisian church at this time! Fill the church with Your power and authority. During this chaotic time, may they rise up as a church that knows and preaches Your power that saves! May they love the unloved, free the oppressed, and only lift up Jehovah as a powerful church that will turn all people back to You! Amen!