Apr 16, 2012
On April 7th, in the middle of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, thousands of university graduates who couldn’t find a job demonstrated.
The young people came from all regions of Tunisia in response to the call of the Union of Unemployed University Graduates. They rallied before the headquarters of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, then continued down the city’s main boulevard, where demonstrations are banned. Their slogans were, “Down with the government!” and “Work, freedom, dignity!” These slogans were used a year ago, during the Tunisian uprising that led to the dictator Ben Ali leaving the country before he could be overthrown.
The police shot tear gas at demonstrators and hit the young people. At least twenty were wounded and had to be taken for treatment. One organizer denounced police brutality, comparing it to police actions under the old dictator. Instead, these young people had “come to demonstrate peacefully for jobs, freedom and dignity, for nothing has changed since the revolution.”
The rate of unemployment is officially 19% in the country, but almost 25% among university graduates. The demonstrators demanded jobs, as well as unemployment compensation equal to the Tunisian minimum wage, around $200 a month. But the government, led by the Islamist party Ennhada, apparently has contempt for the needs of the population to live decently. In Tunisia, the true “revolution,” the social revolution, still remains to be made.