Tunisia: President Flees, Activist remains Detained

Update: New Amnesty International statement calling on the Tunisian authorities to rescind permissions to “shoot on sight”.

Several news outlets are confirming that Tunisia’s president Ben Ali has fled the country. Tunisia has seen rising protests in recent weeks, sparked by the suicide of a 26-year-old unemployed graduate on 17 December 2010. Protesters have been demanding jobs and better living conditions and for an end to corruption, but the government’s response has been heavy-handed with police accused of opening fire on and killing and injuring scores of demonstrators.

Earlier today we have called on authorities in Tunisia to release two people arrested in the context of the protests. Hamma Hammami, spokesperson for the banned Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party (Parti Communiste des Ouvriers Tunisiens, PCOT) was arrested at his home in Tunis on 12 January. Around 20 members of the Presidential Security unit are reported to have detained him together with his colleague, Mohamed Mzem, a lawyer, and Mounia Obaid, a friend who was later released.

Read our full statement.

Please write to the authorities to call on the release of Hamma Hammami and Mohamed Mzem.

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6 thoughts on “Tunisia: President Flees, Activist remains Detained

  1. What has happened in Tunisia has been a prophecy. The historical events are written before they happen. It was written on student desperation and events followed each other at a dizzy pace.
    The world and not only Tunisia lies immersed in a great crisis in which the stages of social despair are the order of the day. However they are not societies that are forced to get on an inevitable decline, but their governments whatever their ideologies are, have lost all conviction power to citizens.
    While governments should exist to protect the legitimate rights to life, freedom and property, these rights have been lost to the totalitarianism and inefficiency of those who hold power. A kind of power used only to create laws that do not allow that rights should be subject to a public vote. When the majority has no right to vote in order to repeal the minority rights; Governments become the problem, not the solution: “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.”
    We are at a moment when history will show us that in view of Totalitarianism we have no option but fight; governments have no more power than people give them, because in this social struggle it self lies the seeds of the triumph.
    Social and civil wars are evil, but they are the lesser evil. The Tunisian people will be the example of the way that other people should follow.

  2. Good Tunisian people are doing what any good citizens would do protecting their homes and businesses as best they can. Difficult time but the struggle and fight and loss of live has not been in vain if Tunisia gets rid of all the dictators family and followers who have murdered people for decades and tortured prisoners.

    We do what we can fight in the streets to save our homes and families and create a democratic government. Some will try to disturb the status quo but they will not win the strenght of feeling is too high in Tunisia.

  3. What has happened in Tunisia has been a prophecy. The historical events are written before they happen. It was written on student desperation and events followed each other at a dizzy pace.
    The world and not only Tunisia lies immersed in a great crisis in which the stages of social despair are the order of the day. However they are not societies that are forced to get on an inevitable decline, but their governments whatever their ideologies are, have lost all conviction power to citizens.
    While governments should exist to protect the legitimate rights to life, freedom and property, these rights have been lost to the totalitarianism and inefficiency of those who hold power. A kind of power used only to create laws that do not allow that rights should be subject to a public vote. When the majority has no right to vote in order to repeal the minority rights; Governments become the problem, not the solution: “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.”
    We are at a moment when history will show us that in view of Totalitarianism we have no option but fight; governments have no more power than people give them, because in this social struggle it self lies the seeds of the triumph.
    Social and civil wars are evil, but they are the lesser evil. The Tunisian people will be the example of the way that other people should follow.

  4. Good Tunisian people are doing what any good citizens would do protecting their homes and businesses as best they can. Difficult time but the struggle and fight and loss of live has not been in vain if Tunisia gets rid of all the dictators family and followers who have murdered people for decades and tortured prisoners.

    We do what we can fight in the streets to save our homes and families and create a democratic government. Some will try to disturb the status quo but they will not win the strenght of feeling is too high in Tunisia.

  5. Well Said Paul:

    The strength that lies in despair, poverty and injustice has no limits and is indestructible. Sovereignty resides in the people.
    The entire African continent needs now this strenght.

  6. Well Said Paul:

    The strength that lies in despair, poverty and injustice has no limits and is indestructible. Sovereignty resides in the people.
    The entire African continent needs now this strenght.