Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tunisia: Demonstration to Warn About Dangerous Migrant Crossings

A demonstration will be held on April 9 at the port of Zarzis, in Tunisia, to raise the public opinion's awareness about the thousands of migrants who die at sea while attempting to reach Europe.

In an effort to raise public awareness about the thousands of migrants who drown in the Mediterranean, a demonstration will be held on April 9 at the port of Zarzis, in Tunisia.

The demonstration has been organized by the association "The fisherman for development and the environment" in Zarzis and Alarmphone Tunis of Watch the Med. Alarmphone Tunis is a project that was created in October 2014 by a network of activists and representatives of civil society in Europe and North Africa who activated and organized a phone line that refugees can call to ask for help in the Mediterranean Sea.

Associations denounce deterrence policies

The two associations issued a statement urging Tunisians to participate in the demonstration. They also voiced support for NGOs working in rescue operations in the Mediterranean who have faced criticism from the European Union. As well, they slammed the current restrictive Schengen visa policies, saying this only serves to prevents a legal and safe migration practice. The statement also criticized European border policies as "homicidal."

Zarzis, which hosts a cemetery for unidentified migrants, made headlines last August when fishermen and local communities mobilized boats against the C-Star, operated by an anti-immigrant group calling itself Defend Europe. Fishermen responded to the appeal launched by the "Collective of North Africa against the racist ship C-Star" and were ready to prevent the vessel's arrival with three boats. According to the Tunisian national guard and to port authorities, the C-Star did not request permission to dock.

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