Ghaya Ben Mbarek

Ghaya Ben Mbarek

Journalist and former student activist, with an academic background in International Relations & Peace and Conflict Studies.

03 September 2021

On September 1, police violently dispersed a peaceful demonstration in downtown Tunis, punching, shoving, and using pepper spray against demonstrators as well as journalists who were there covering the event. Aside from some incidents in front of Parliament on July 26, Wednesday’s police repression was the first documented use of police violence against peaceful demonstrators since President Kais Saied suspended parliament and dismissed the government on July 25.

12 August 2021

Late last June, when it was the region hardest hit by Covid-19, Meshkal/Nawaat went to Kairouan. The tragic situation there foreshadowed what the rest of the nation has since been living through: a sharp spike in cases made much worse by a lack of basic State services, personnel, and supplies. Without enough doctors, ambulances, vaccines or vaccination teams, protective gear or nurses, many in Kairouan faced their spike by relying on family for care, exacerbating the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, medical personnel themselves were unable to get vaccines and many worked without receiving salaries promised in their contracts.

02 August 2021

There have been numerous assaults and harassment of journalists by security forces, politicians and officials in recent years–with June alone seeing 18 assaults, and May seeing 13, according to the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT). However, in the days since mass protests began on July 25 and President Kais Saied subsequently announced exceptional measures concentrating powers under him, there has been a spike in such harassment.

18 جوان 2021

أدّى مصرع أحمد عمارة (32 سنة)، بتاريخ 8 جوان الجاري، أثناء إيقافه داخل مركز للشرطة، بحسب ادعاءات، إلى قيام موجة من الاحتجاجات والاشتباكات مع قوات البوليس امتدت على عدة أيام، في الحي الشعبي سيدي حسين. العديد من الأشخاص تعرضوا لإصابات، بمن فيهم طفل يبلغ من العمر15سنة تم تجريده من ملابسه والاعتداء عليه بالعنف الشديد في مقطع فيدو انتشر على نطاق واسع، مما أنتج موجة غضب عارمة. سيدي حسين هو كذلك الحي الذي قتل فيه الشاب أحمد عثماني (19 سنة) برصاص أعوان الديوانة سنة 2018.

12 June 2021

The death of 32-year-old Ahmed Ben Moncef Ben Ammar on June 8, allegedly while in police custody, has prompted several days of protests and clashes with police forces in the working class neighborhood of Sidi Hassine. Several people have been wounded, including a 15-year-old who was stripped naked and beaten in a widely-shared video that has prompted outrage. Sidi Hassine is also the neighborhood where 19-year-old Aymen Othman was killed when customs officials opened fire in 2018.

02 April 2021

In recent months, private polling indicates a surge in popularity for the Free Destourian Party (or Free Constitutional Party, PDL by its French acronym). In many ways the PDL has fashioned itself as a new iteration of Ben Ali and the former regime’s single ruling Constitutional Rally Party (or RCD), of which PDL president Abir Moussi was once Assistant Secretary General in Charge of Women. But when Meshkal/Nawaat went to the PDL headquarters in the Kheireddine Pacha neighborhood of Tunis on March 12 to ask about the party’s rising popularity, they were met by a round, bald man in a dark navy suit: Moussi’s bodyguard.

26 March 2021

In 2019, Tunisia ranked third in the African continent in terms of the number of people suffering from depression, with more than a half million people suffering from this mental illness, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics. Mental healthcare professionals say that the need for such healthcare is increasing, yet the public health care system is not adequate to treat all patients.

25 January 2021

After more than a week of protests across the nation following a sudden, government-imposed lockdown on the 10th anniversary of the January 14, 2011 revolution, security forces have arrested over 1600 people, 600 of them children, according to Yassine Azaza, a human rights activist and volunteer lawyer on behalf of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH by its French acronym). Those numbers were given to Nawaat/Meshkal on January 20, 2021, but since then the numbers have increased and human rights activists and organizations said they are struggling to keep track.

09 December 2020

Hundreds of healthcare staff and workers, including doctors, nurses, medical students and other staff held a protest march on Tuesday, December 8, which they dubbed a ‘day of rage’ for the Tunisian public health sector. The focus of protesters demands was on public investment in healthcare facilities, equipment and infrastructure following the death of 27-year-old surgical resident, Badr Eddine Aloui. Aloui fell to his death on December 3 from the fifth floor in the Jendouba Regional Hospital due to an elevator dysfunction.

02 December 2020

On Monday, November 23, a 21-year old woman died after falling into a stormwater drainage channel in the industrial area of Enfidha in the governorate of Sousse. Her death marks the second time in less than two months that dangerous infrastructure has taken the life of a young person.

19 November 2020

The town of Tabarka, nestled between green mountains and the sea, close to the Algerian border, boasts a natural beauty that has made it a major tourist attraction for decades. In 2017, nearly a quarter of a million tourists visited Tabarka and its nearby mountain villages according to one report. Despite the beauty, the town’s main trash dump had been near one of the main roads entering the town for years until 2015, when it was finally moved. But the new dump location is near a hospital, close to a training school for the hospitality sector, and may be leaking into local water resources. When locals living near the dump protested earlier this year by blocking a national highway, calling on officials to move it elsewhere, several were briefly detainedby police.

21 أكتوبر 2020

تجمهر متظاهرون، بتاريخ 06 أكتوبر الجاري، أمام مقر البرلمان للاحتجاج ضد مشروع قانون يهدف لضمان حصانة قانونية للقوات الأمنية من الملاحقة القضائية عند الإفراط في استخدام القوة. وهو أول تحرك ضمن سلسلة من التحركات الاحتجاجية المعارضة لتمرير هذا القانون. وقد قامت القوات الأمنية بالاعتداء على المحتجين وإلقاء القبض على أربعة منهم وجرهم لمركز الشرطة بمنطقة باردو. مشكال/نواة تحدثت مع الأشخاص الأربعة، الذين تم إيقافهم بسبب الاحتجاجات ليتم إطلاق سراحهم لاحقا، حول تجاوزات الشرطة التي تعرضوا لها.

10 October 2020

On Tuesday, October 6, demonstrators gathered in front of Parliament to protest a draft law under discussion seeking to grant security forces legal immunity from prosecution for use of force—the first of several protests against the law this week. Police forces then assaulted protesters and detained four of them at a police station in the Bardo neighborhood. Meshkal/Nawaat spoke with the four people who were detained and later released about the police abuse they experienced.