Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Taran Rampersad links to an Association for Progressive Communications report on events earlier today in Tunisia, where journalists & human rights activists meeting ahead of the UN's World Summit on the Information Society were harassed & in some cases attacked by Tunisian police. See also this report from Reporters Without Borders & this story in the UK Guardian:

The European Union has made a formal complaint to the Tunisian government on the eve of a world internet summit in Tunis over heavy-handed police tactics....

The argument itself surrounds a violent scuffle at the German cultural centre in Tunis on Monday morning, which involved the German ambassador to the UN and representatives of more than 30 local and international human rights bodies.

About 70 plainclothes policemen physically prevented representatives from a number of non-governmental organisations from entering the Goethe Institut at Place d'Afrique in central Tunis. They were meeting to review plans for an alternative "citizen summit" in the capital after their booking at a conference venue was cancelled at the last minute.

The police did not provide an official reason for their actions, according to the representative for the World Association for Community Radio Broadcasters and chairman of the Tunisian monitoring group, Steve Buckley, a Briton.

"We were physically pushed away from the institute," he told us. "I saw one person frogmarched down the street and one colleague pushed over." Another eye-witness from the Danish Institute for Human Rights said the police were attempting to drag Tunisians away from the crowd of mixed nationalities.

Trinidadian blogger Jacqueline Morris (recently nominated to ICANN's Interim At Large Advisory Committee) is in Tunisia for the WSIS--perhaps she'll supply a firsthand report.

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