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A-24

Sobre a "Primavera" Tunisina - Salafists Burn Down Bars, Liquor Stores While Police are Passive in Sidi Bouzid

por A-24, em 22.05.12
A large group of Salafists gathered in Sidi Bouzid on Saturday, May 19 and burned down bars as well as the house of a bar owner in their violent campaign against the sale of alcohol in the town. A melee ensued between Salafists and an angry bar owner.
“The bar burning was planned on Friday and carried out on Saturday,” said Zied Bouazizi a web designer living in Sidi Bouzid.
Many residents of the governorate of Sidi Bouzid had previously asked the governor to ban the sale of alcohol complaining that on too many occasions the town has been rocked by fights between drunk men.
“A confrontation mounted after the Isha prayer  in the Nour neighborhood of Sidi Bou Zid when sellers of alcoholic beverages approached the neighborhood mosque, a fight broke out because Fawzi Gammoudi, the owner of both a bar and a liquor store went crazy after having his house, two of his vehicles and his bars burned,” said Kais Bouazizi, the owner of a store in the “Nour” neighborhood.
Kais recounted how out of rage Fawzi was shooting randomly with his hunting rifle and one of the bullets hit the dome of the  mosque and some of the men supporting Fawzi went inside the mosque and started to attack the salafists. Salafists responded aggressively against Fawzi and his brigade and a large fight involving many men ensued.
According to Kais, Salafists had burned bars owned by both Fawzi Gammoudi and Shedli Moez.
“We were listening to the gun shots and we were asking the police officers to interfere but they had no clue. We are not secure in Sidi Bouzid, the police officers and the army are not accomplishing their duties here,” he said.
“I know someone who was attacked by a salafist and when he went to the police office to complain, he was told to pray to God and ask for revenge,” Kais added.
“After what happened, some of us went to the police office and asked them to help us and as a reaction to their passivity we asked them to arm us or give us their weapons because they are not acting to protect us,” a frustrated Kais told Tunisia Live.
“We are living in ‘Bouzid-Stan!’ While I Am a practicing Muslim, what is happening here is not consistent with Islam at all. I know these salafist people, some of them were drunkards a week ago and now they are pretending to be the voice of God in Sidi Bouzid. Every mosque is preaching according to different extremist strands of Islam that in the past were foreign to here, we have a Wahabi mosque, a Salafi mosque, etc.” said Kais.
Zied said that the problem is with the police office in Sidi Bou Zid. “The Police are not doing their job. When the major melee started police officers went straight to the government buildings like the municipality and the governorate and locked themselves in and remained there to protect the buildings but they didn’t bother to protect the people,” said Zied.
”Townspeople in Sidi Bou Zid contributed to what happened because initially they were welcoming of the salafists but they did not expect the level of violence this took on the town,” he added.

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