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Tunisia: demonstrators demand to know fate of missing migrants

Security forces intervene in protesters during a protest against the government's controversial search and rescue operations for the boat capsized off the coast of Zarzis, Tunisia on November 18, 2022 [Tasnim Nasri/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]
Security forces intervene in protesters during a protest against the government's controversial search and rescue operations for the boat capsized off the coast of Zarzis, Tunisia on November 18, 2022 [Tasnim Nasri/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Zarzis yesterday demanding to know the fate of missing migrants two months after the boat that they were using to cross the Mediterranean sank, Anadolu has reported. Contact was lost with the vessel on 21 September. It was carrying eighteen people, most of them from Zarzis.

"Our main demand is to reveal the truth," explained civil society activist Abdeslam Freik. "We have provided the authorities with all required information and we are waiting for the facts."

He added that the protesters were also waiting for the go-ahead from the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) to start a strike today (Thursday). The union branch in Zarzis announced last weekend that a strike would take place today and tomorrow.

The people of Zarzis have been angered by what they describe as "negligence" by the authorities in searching for their missing friends and relatives who were on the boat. Fourteen bodies were recovered after the migrant boat sank. Only six were identified, but at least four bodies have been buried in the Africa Gardens Cemetery recently in an area designated for unidentified individuals.

The total number of people missing in the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year is now 544, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES).

READ: 31 organisations condemn suppression of peaceful Zarzis march

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