A protest against Tunisia’s anti LGBTQ laws has gone wrong, after plains clothed officers violently broke it up.
The protest, which had been banned, took place outside of the Tourism Ministry. Organisers had been told that the protest could not go ahead for their own “safety.”
Speaking to Arab News, ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani confirmed this, saying that they “had information that they [the protesters] were going to be targeted.”
However, the protest, which only had 12 people attend did go ahead, until the disruption. According to protesters, plains clothed officers arrived and started taking them away as soon as a rainbow flag was unfurled.
One protester, Amina Sboui, alleges that when she unfurled her rainbow flag, her and another protester were taken away and put into a police car. Bouhdid Belhadi, the director of LGBTQ radio station Shams Rad, claims that his arm was twisted by an officer as he was removed.
The protest was called because of “the criminalisation of sexual freedom and discrimination against women” in Tunisia, as well as the country’s “retrograde” laws. The protest was organised by the Association of Free Thinkers and was supported by Association Shams.
Homosexuality is currently illegal in the African country, with a maximum sentence of three years. In past years, suspected homosexuals have had to undergo “anal tests”, but it was announced last year that the country would be dropping this practice.
However, a current bill going through the Tunisian parliament is set to grant police immunity from prosecution if they use unnecessary force, as well as criminalise criticism of police conduct. Amnesty International was condemned this piece of legislation, and says it could put LGBTQ people into “jeopardy.”