Ten people were injured today after they were attacked by a mob of men wielding knives, sticks and rocks at the Tunisian Labor Federation (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail UGTT) in the capital, Tunis.
As trade unionists held an overnight vigil to commemorate the 1952 assassination of Farhat Hached, UGTT founder and first general secretary, hundreds attacked the union’s offices, injuring participants, including two members of UGTT’s executive board. The attack was captured on amateur video.
“Today’s attack perpetrated against the UGTT is a second assassination of Farhat Hached,” said UGTT General Secretary Hassine Abassi, speaking on Shems FM, the UGTT radio station.
“The UGTT was never attacked like this during the time of (former presidents) Ben Ali or Bourguiba. We hold the current government responsible for this violence.”
Following the attacks, thousands of union members and supporters, including Solidarity Center staff, gathered in the city center and marched to Hached’s tomb to stand in solidarity with those injured and to denounce violence in a democratic society that respects values of equality and social justice.
UGTT’s offices were attacked in October, and union members and supporters rushed to barricade the doors. No one was injured. In June, the three regional UGTT office were damaged after being firebombed.
Hached was brutally murdered by a colonialist militia, a key event in Tunisia’s passage to independence.
The UGTT was recently honored by the AFL-CIO and received the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award for its fundamental role in supporting and sustaining the democratic uprising that took place in Tunisia in 2011.