Tunisia police disperse LGBT protesters

Policemen in plain clothes force Tunisian activist Amina Sboui, a radio presenter on the new “Shams Radio,” the first LGBT radio in the Arab region, into a vehicle as they disperse an LGBT protest in Tunis on Jan. 27, 2018.(AFP)
Updated 27 January 2018
0

Tunisia police disperse LGBT protesters

TUNIS: Plain-clothed Tunisian police on Saturday broke up a demonstration by LGBT activists in the centre of the capital after it was banned "for their own security", the interior ministry said.
A call had been made to protest outside the tourism ministry under the hashtag "#Sayebni" ("Let me go") to demand the repeal of "retrograde" laws and the end of "the criminalisation of sexual freedom and discrimination against women".
But activists said late Friday they had been told by the interior ministry that their demonstration had been banned.
"We had information that they were going to be targeted," said ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani told AFP.
The rally was banned "for their safety and to preserve public order", he said, without elaborating.
The call to protest was made by the Association of Free Thinkers and relayed by the Shams association, which campaigns for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tunisia.
At the scheduled time of the protest, a dozen protesters, including one bearing a sign calling for a secular state, were moved on by policemen in plain clothes.
But there was a scramble when LGBT activists said they rejected the ban on demonstrations and two, including ex-Femen member Amina Sboui, tried to display a rainbow flag.
She and another activist were bundled into a police vehicle by the security forces.
Bouhdid Belhadi, general manager of LGBT web broadcaster "Shams Rad", said he had had his arm twisted by police.
LGBT activists have emerged from the shadows since Tunisia's 2011 uprising that launched the Arab Spring.
However, their position remains precarious for social reasons and legislation that punishes homosexual practices with three years in prison.


Citizen journalist among 11 civilians killed in northwest Syria

Updated 40 min 52 sec ago
0

Citizen journalist among 11 civilians killed in northwest Syria

  • Anas Al-Dyab, a photographer and videographer in his early 20s, was a member of the White Helmets

KHAN SHEIKHUN: A young citizen journalist was among 11 civilians killed in air raids on Syria’s Idlib region Sunday, rescue workers and a monitor said, as he filmed the Russia-backed regime bombardment of the battered enclave.
Anas Al-Dyab, a photographer and videographer in his early 20s, was a member of the White Helmets who also contributed to AFP.
He was killed in Russian air strikes in the town of Khan Sheikhun, rescuers and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The White Helmets, rescue workers in rebel areas named after their distinctive hard hats, said the group “mourns the fall of a hero Anas Al-Dyab, a volunteer and media activist with the Syrian Civil Defense Center in Idlib,” in a Twitter post.
An AFP journalist saw White Helmet members gather to bid farewell to their friend, whose body was laid on a thick red blanket.
The Damascus regime and its Russian ally have stepped up their deadly bombardment of the jihadist-run region of Idlib since late April, despite a September buffer zone deal to protect the region of some three million people from a massive military assault.
Khan Sheikhun, a town in the south of Idlib, has been particularly hit, forcing thousands to flee their homes there, according to the United Nations.
But Dyab “chose to remain with his fellow volunteers in Khan Sheikhun till today,” the White Helmets said.
Raed Al-Saleh, the head of the White Helmets, said Dyab was killed while “trying to show the world what’s going on in Syria.”
“It’s a great loss,” he said.
Dyab, who was single, leaves behind his parents and three brothers, one of whom is held by the Damascus regime, Saleh said.
The Observatory said Dyab was hiding in the cellar of a three-story building with two members of the Jaish Al-Ezza rebel group when the strike happened.
Also on Sunday, regime air strikes killed 10 other civilians including three children in other parts of the bastion, said the Britain-based monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information.
Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham in January took full administrative control of the Idlib region, although other jihadists and rebels are also present.
The Idlib region is supposed to be protected by a September 2018 deal between Russia and rebel backer Turkey, but a buffer zone planned under that accord was never fully implemented.
The White Helmets, who are backed by the West, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.
But Moscow and Damascus accuse the group of backing rebels and jihadists.
Syria’s war has killed a total of more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.