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
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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.


12 suspected extremists killed in Egypt raids: ministry

Updated 59 min 15 sec ago
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12 suspected extremists killed in Egypt raids: ministry

  • The ministry said five other suspects were killed in a different raid
  • No group claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack

CAIRO: Twelve suspected militants were killed Monday in police raids near Cairo, Egypt’s interior ministry said, a day after a bomb blast injured 17 people including tourists near the Giza pyramids.
Security forces “carried out a raid against an apartment in the 6th of October district used for making explosive devices... These forces were shot at and responded, which left seven dead among the group,” which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said in a statement.
In another such raid in Cairo’s Al-Shorouk neighborhood against the militant Hasm group, an armed affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said five suspected extremists were killed in an exchange of fire.
Weapons and ammunition were seized in the two apartments, the interior ministry said.
“As part of the ministry’s efforts to tackle the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, information reached national security services” of attacks being prepared by Hasm, the ministry said.
The statement did not directly link the raids to Sunday’s attack in which a roadside bomb hit a tourist bus near the famed Giza pyramids.
There was no claim of responsibility.
It came months after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus near the pyramids in December.
Egyptian authorities led a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members after the military overthrew president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
The Hasm group emerged in 2016 and has in the past claimed responsibility for several attacks.