On August 5, 2012, I went to Avenue Habib Bourguiba to take part in a peaceful rally meant at denouncing the failures of the government. An event that has been scheduled several days ago by some actors of the civil society as well as some cyber-activists and independent citizens.
Once there, I went to see a bunch of friends gathered at the cafe "The Univers'' including: Rym El Benna, Abdessalem Hamdi, Slim Amamou and many others. The scene was incredible:a number of police officers occupied some of the neighboring tables, others dressed in "Fighting uniform" were on the median strip of the Avenue. We learned that the cops have chased away the persons sitting on the stairs of the Municipal Theater.
At 9.30, we decided to move and start our rally on the median strip in front of the Municipal Theater. At first the police tried to disperse us, using the pretext of the state of emergency- not allowing the gathering of more than three people in public places. We decided to move in the direction of the Ministry of Interior and chanted the slogan: "Oh People wake up, the" Nahdhaouis" is stealing your money". The cops attacked us. Bikers tore along the median strip anddrove right into the crowd to disperse us. The scene was much like the attack of the camel in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Rym El Benna was beside me when we both received blows to the head. Friends of ours took us away from the place.
After a long time we returned to the coffee shop where we had met earlier. A group of young persons started singing "chayed Kousourek" of Cheikh Imam. Our mad police men who hate art, beauty, music and youth threw chairs, tables and glasses to chase us away.
I left the main street to get some rest and drink water before returning to a side street to observe what was happening from a distance. I lacked the strength to face the police and to take photos. The blows I received on the head were badly hurting... Suddenly a policeman in plainclothes (someone I already know) grabbed me by the arm and dragged me away from my friends. I started screaming and yelling, he was joined by two then three other cops and then their number increased. They all worked unceasingly to take my backpack but I resisted. Indeed, one of them was holding me by the neck, two others tried to tear out my bag whereas the others were having fun beating me and tearing me clothes ... ... A young man rushed to free me from their hell: "let her for me" .. and he violently pushed me and asked me to run away, "run , run,run" he said ...In my first interview (for Shems FM) I talked about three cops, I was still under the shock but looking back I remembered faces (I know some) and friends have confirmed thatthey have been ten to assault me.
Once in security, I discovered that those thieves succeeded in stealing my camera. I decided to go back and to get it back . Clashes between the protesters and police continued . The latter looked like rabid dogs running in all directions, insulting and hitting people arbitrarily The scene was worthy of December 2010.Later some friends and journalists managed to have my camera without the memory card and I was driven to the emergency.
My gift for the 'militants asking for money . ( photo taken in the emergency service)