Tunisia: ‘Our children were killed, Mr President’ – Zarzis mass protest demands answers about deadly shipwreck

Thousands of protesters marched in Zarzis, South East Tunisia, on Tuesday to demand answers about a shipwreck that killed 18 people on September 21 from the government.

The demonstrators called for an investigation regarding the search and burial of the victims’ bodies, as some of them were not even identified before being sent to the wrong cemetery.

The protesters marched along the main streets of Zarzis, holding pictures of the victims. Some relatives of the deceased also attended the rally as a general strike shut down the coastal city.

“We are deprived of what is most precious to us, our children. Our children were killed, Mr President”, said a citizen of Zarzis, and added: “We are with you, but do not deprive us of knowing the truth about the killing of our children.”

Government institutions and stores were closed across Tunisia during the general strike, and health services were limited to emergencies.

In the early morning of September 21, a boat which had departed from Zarzis sank at the sea. After local authorities failed to act promptly, 8 bodies were found by local fishermen on October 10. The delay in the search and the burial of 4 Tunisian victims in a cemetery typically designated for migrants caused the anger of the relatives.

Following the protests of the past days, Tunisian president Kais Saied reportedly ordered to open an investigation “to ensure that the Tunisian people can know the truth”.

Leave a Comment