June 13, 2012—The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has issued the following statement:
Tunisian Islamic fundamentalists unleashed a campaign of firebombing trade union offices around the country yesterday, as the Salafist movement challenged the emerging democracy in the home of the “Arab Spring.”
Regional offices of the national union center UGTT in three locations have been burned down by Salafists under the slogan "There is only God and the UGTT is the enemy of God. " UGTT regional offices were main organizing points for the revolution to depose former President Ben Ali.
"Democracy is under attack in Tunisia today, and the Salafists have the union movement as a primary target,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary. “There are grave concerns for the safety of trade union leaders, and others who stand for people’s democratic rights and the rule of law."
The ITUC reports that UGTT offices in Bou Salem were destroyed and its bureau in Ben Gardane was burned out, while union center headquarters in Jendouba in the northwest were firebombed at 2 a.m. local time yesterday. Political parties that have shown support for the UGTT, including the PDP, Republican Party, The Forum, and the Alwatad Movement, have also been targeted along with courts, post offices, art galleries, and even police.
"The authorities need to move quickly to put an end to this violence, which has been building for some time,” said Burrow. “The people organizing these attacks have been generating a climate of fear and intimidation which threatens the very development of a democratic Tunisia."
Cross-posted from ITUC Online, June 12, 2012
Letter from AFL-CIO to Tunisian President, June 13, 2012