Monday, November 29

On the impact of congestion in Tunisia’s Scorpions… Ennahda warns against Said’s project and the Labor Union demands it for a roadmap to end the exceptional phase

Tunisia- The city of Aqrab in the Sfax governorate (southern Tunisia) is witnessing a state of tension and intermittent confrontations between security and residents who refuse to implement a government decision to open a landfill, despite a judicial decision to close it, amid calls from internal parties to end the political crisis in the country.

Al-Jazeera correspondent confirmed that there were injuries among protesters and security forces in the vicinity of a garbage dump, which residents demanded to close in the city, amid a general strike there. Eyewitnesses reported that the security forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters in the vicinity of the dump.

Environmental activist and member of the “Manish estuary” movement, Sami al-Bahri – in his speech to Al Jazeera Net – accuses the authorities of trying to impose a fait accompli and resorting to excessive force to solve the waste accumulation crisis in the city of Sfax.

The spokesman stressed that the people of the city had suffered from respiratory and cancerous diseases and physical and genetic abnormalities since the establishment of the Scorpion estuary, which was closed following a judicial battle between the authorities and the people of the city that ended with a decision in their favor in July 2019.

Al-Bahri stressed the necessity of the success of the general strike, which was carried out by the people of the city today, Wednesday, at the invitation of the Labor Union, to denounce the opening of the estuary and the excessive use of tear gas by the security forces to disperse peaceful demonstrators, which led to the death of a young man, while the Ministry of Interior denies the people’s story and confirms that the death is natural.

commission and roadmap

For his part, the Secretary-General of the Tunisian Labor Union, Noureddine Tabboubi, confirmed that a committee of the union and civil society is looking with the Minister of Interior for solutions to the situation in Aqrab, noting that the cause of the crisis is due to the absence of a strategic deal with problems and crises, as he put it.

The members of the administrative body of the General Union of Labor met yesterday, Tuesday, and issued a decision today calling for clarification of the political vision, setting the path of real correction, ending ambiguity and setting a road map to end the exceptional stage.Distancing the Tunisian administration from “political interactions, partisan recruitment, and attempts to subjugate it to loyalty to the executive authority.”

The statement expressed pride in the struggle of private sector workers in Sfax, and denounced what it called the slow killing policy that has been practiced on the people of Aqrab for decades.

For his part, Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi said that President Kais Saied’s project is based on seizing powers and accumulating them with one hand, as he described it.

fake crisis

The Ministry of Environment had announced in a statement the day before yesterday, Monday, the resumption of the activity of the “Qana” estuary in the city of Aqrab, justifying this as a public facility, with the aim of reducing the health, environmental and economic risks resulting from the accumulation of waste in the city of Sfax after the closure of the estuary.

During a ministerial meeting to discuss the waste crisis in the governorate of Sfax, Tunisian President Kais Saied accused some parties of fabricating the waste crisis and trying to spread it in other cities to strike the state and target social peace.

Activists circulated on social networks a video of President Saeed during his participation in a forum in Aqrab in April 2019 and his support for the city’s youth’s defense of their right to live in dignity and in a healthy environment, after listening to their complaints about pollution.

Parties denounce

The Democratic Current, the Republican Party and the bloc held the President of the Republic responsible for the explosion of the situation in the city of Aqrab by resorting to security solutions, which led to the death of a young man, and called for a serious and independent investigation to determine the responsibilities.

And these parties considered in a joint statement that “100 days of Qais Saeed’s monopoly in power did not bring any solutions, visions or initiatives, but rather led to a further decay of the political, social and economic situation.”

In the same context, the National Coordination of Social Movements denounced the authorities’ violation of a judicial decision to close the waste dump in the city of Aqrab, and reopen it by force.

The coordination called on the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the Ministers of Environment, Justice and Interior to assume their responsibilities towards what is happening in Aqrab and to reveal the circumstances of the fall of one of its youths.

And she stressed in her statement that “the policy of running away, rushing and intimidation will not lead to solving the environmental, social and economic problems that the country is going through, but rather to more violence and counter-violence.”

corporate responsibility

In turn, the President of the Tunisian University of Municipalities, Adnan Bouassida, warned – in a statement to Al Jazeera Net – of a general environmental disaster in Tunisia similar to what the city of Aqrab is experiencing due to the approach of the largest garbage dumps to reach its maximum capacity.

Our interviewer pointed to the absence of a clear strategy for government agencies regarding the fate of these landfills and the alternatives offered, especially waste valuation and recycling.

Bouassida acknowledged the legitimacy of the protest of the people of Aqrab against the reopening of the estuary after a judicial decision was issued to close it, but in return he saw that the responsibility is shared between the authority and the people to find consensual solutions.

He pointed out that the authorities do not bear the waste crisis alone, as they clash with the citizens’ refusal to establish new waste dumps and respond to safety conditions, which deepens the environmental crisis in the country.

The Director-General of the Ministry of Environment, Zohour Hilali, confirmed to local media that the environmental problem and the accumulation of waste that the governor of Sfax has been facing for more than a month can only be resolved by opening the Aqrab landfill, noting that the government is moving towards appealing the judicial decision to close the dump.

Al-Hilali called on the people to be prudent and understand the situation, noting that her ministry is working on finding alternative solutions to value and recycle waste instead of filling it underground.

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