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Tunisia MP launches hunger strike in protest of abuse in parliament

Tunisian deputy Samia Abbou during a parliament session at Tunisian Parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on 13 September 2017 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian deputy Samia Abbou during a parliament session at Tunisian Parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on 13 September 2017 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

Female Member of Tunisia's Parliament Samia Abbou has launched a hunger strike in protest against alleged abuse she has suffered at the hands of her colleagues.

The representative of the Democratic Bloc took to Facebook to announce her protest action and said: "Following the events in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People on December 7, 2020, it was a shock to Tunisian women and Tunisians inside and outside the Council, and a disgrace in its history represented by the deliberate practice of physical violence."

Last month, Tunisia's parliament witnessed a violent brawl between representatives of rival political parties, the far-right Al-Karama Coalition and the centre-left Democratic Current bloc, during a session within the Women's Committee, overseeing issues related to peasant women labourers.

According to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, one of the representatives, Anwar Al-Shahid was seen in a video bleeding from his forehead while his colleague Abbou appeared unconscious after she was attacked by members of Al-Karama, prompting condemnation from Parliament Speaker Rashid Al-Ghannouchi and the Presidency of Parliament pledging to open an investigation.

"After we have held a sit-in in the lobby of the Assembly of the Representatives for more than one month and three days, the Speaker did not take any action or measures against the perpetrators of violence (…) and based on the above, I, Representative Samia Hammouda Abbou, announce my entry into an open hunger strike until the president takes responsibility and issues a statement denouncing the violence and its perpetrators," the official added.

READ: Tunisia's Public Prosecution pursues suspects in calls to topple parliament

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