Tunisians protest against return of extremists

"No to freedom for terrorist groups!" protestors chanted.

Tunisians protest against return of extremists

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hundreds of people gathered outside Tunisia's parliament on Saturday to protest against letting extremists who fought overseas to return to the country.

Some held placards calling for "political will against terror groups".

Organisers said 1,500 people attended the rally.

It was held on the same day authorities said they had arrested three alleged extremists connected to the suspected Berlin Christmas market attacker, Tunisian Anis Amri.

Protestors slammed Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda party, who has in the past supported the idea of allowing Tunisian extremists who "repent" and renounce violence to return home.

President Beji Caid Essebsi said earlier this month that Tunisia would refuse to pardon Tunisians who fight for extremist organisations.

"Many of them want to return, and we can't prevent a Tunisian from returning to his country," he told AFP, "but we will be vigilant."

Following a storm of criticism in the press and on social media, on December 15 he told Tunisian local television that "we will not be indulgent with the terror".

More than 5,000 Tunisians are fighting for extremist groups abroad, mainly in Iraq, Syria or neighbouring Libya, according to a UN working group on mercenaries.

On Friday evening, the country's Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub told parliament 800 Tunisian nationals who had fought for extremist groups abroad had since returned to the country.

Since its 2011 revolution Tunisia has faced repeated extremist attacks, killing more than 100 soldiers and policemen, as well as about 20 civilians and 59 foreign tourists, according to official figures.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Aralık 2016, 01:13