First Published: 2017-10-13

Tunisians torch building after migrant tragedy
Around 40 Tunisians set fire to building in Souk Lahad after their relatives drowned when migrant boat collided with navy vessel.
Middle East Online

At least eight migrants drowned

TUNIS - Relatives of Tunisians who drowned after a migrant boat collided with a navy vessel at the weekend set fire to a local government building Thursday in protest, officials and an NGO said.

Interior ministry spokesman Yasser Mesbah said around 40 Tunisians torched the building in the central town of Souk Lahad and tried to set a police station on fire.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, he said.

At least eight migrants drowned on Sunday after their boat sank following a collision with a Tunisian navy vessel in the Mediterranean, while 38 others were rescued, the defence ministry has said.

NGOs say around 40 more people are still missing.

In a television interview Thursday evening, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called the sinking of the migrant boat "a national catastrophe".

Romdhane Ben Amor, of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights NGO, said the protesters were relatives and friends of three migrants who died and of some of the missing.

According to Ben Amor, the demonstrators set fire to the building to protest against "the attitude of the government" which they say is not being forthcoming with information about their loved ones.

"There is a lot of tension and anger," Ben Amor said.

Expressing condolences to the relatives of the migrants who perished, Chahed said the government would "follow the inquiry and speed up the determination of responsibilities" for the tragedy.


Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Rebels to evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home