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Tunisia: ‘They will not steal our revolution!’

19 March, 2015IndustriALL Global Union strongly denounces yesterday’s abhorrent terrorist attack in Tunis, which has killed at least 22 people and injured more than 40. 

The brutal attack at the Bardo museum in the Tunisian capital is a bitter blow to the country, which has had two peaceful democratic elections since dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted by a popular uprising in 2011.

“We will not let you steal our revolution,” was the message being shouted on the streets of Tunis in an immediate reaction to the attacks, said Tahar Berberi, leader of IndustriALL-affiliated metal and electronics workers' union FGME-UGTT.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to the families of the murdered victims and hope that the many who are injured make a quick recovery. Terrorists must never be allowed to undermine the Tunisian people’s desire for democracy and peace, for which the unions have fought so hard,” said IndustriALL general secretary, Jyrki Raina.

To show their anger, the national trade union centre, UGTT, is leading a sit-in of unionists and citizens outside the national parliament this afternoon, to express solidarity for the victims and their rejection of terrorism.  

“Unions in Tunisia are united in condemnation of this cowardly attack, which will only strengthen our solidarity. We will emerge stronger than before,” said Berberi.

Unions have played a pivotal role in achieving democracy in Tunisia and toppling the dictatorship four years ago.

“All the civic and political parties have cast aside their differences and are behind the President and the Tunisian government,” said Berberi.

Twenty of the dead were foreign tourists, according to Tunisian authorities.

“In addition to the human tragedy, it will harm the country and its economy,” said Berberi. “Tourist agencies are already cancelling trips.”

On Sunday, the UGTT executive committee will discuss a call for an international conference to fight terrorism which would include global social forces and civil society, said Berberi.

In recognition of unions’ contribution to democracy, IndustriALL held its Executive Committee meeting in Tunis last December to support building a new society in which trade unions and workers are important players.

Next week IndustriALL will send a sizeable delegation to the World Social Forum taking place in Tunis next week from 25–28 March. “The social movement in Tunisia and the region counts on the global support of democratic forces to oppose violence and terrorism,” said the Forum’s coordinator Abderrahmane Hedhili.

IndustriALL will be participating in several workshops with affiliates and social partners at the event.

“Now, more than ever, the international community must show its solidarity for Tunisia,” said Raina.