A caravan of 25 cars came this morning from Siliana to the Hedi Rais Institute of Ophthalmology in Tunis to protest against the institute’s insufficient treatment of those injured during the last week’s protests in the northwestern town of Siliana.
“The caravan is supported by Abdel Sattar Moussa, the president of the Tunisian League of Human Rights,” affirmed Hattab Baraketi, a member in the National Constituent Assembly affiliated with the Tunisian Workers’ Party.
He added, “These people are coming from Siliana because the Institute allowed injured young men to leave the hospital while their eye injuries were still hemorrhaging.”
During clashes between protesters and police in Siliana, the latter resorted to firing buckshot shells that release pellets, which resulted in injuries to the face and eye regions of some protesters.
Hamida Abubakar Abdel Jalil, the chief executive officer of Hedi Rais Institute, said, “Even though I heard that some inhabitants may come today from Siliana, I have not seen any protest in front of the hospital yet.”
“They [protestors from Siliana] are coming to ask the authorities to treat their sons and relatives, who were injured during the events in Siliana, abroad. They are not coming to protest against any neglect. They are being well treated by the hospital, and four of them have left in good health,” continued Abdel Jalil.
“The hospital received 14 cases – 2 of them may lose eyesight in only one eye, not in both eyes. The hope [that they recover full eyesight] is weak in regards to these two cases,” explained Abdel Jalil.
100 protesters are currently demonstrating in front of the Tunis headquarters of Tunisia’s largest trade union, known as the UGTT, in solidarity with last week’s injured protesters, and asking that they be treated abroad.
Slogans, such as “Buckshots, bullets, Tunisians do not fear,” could be heard among the crowd.
The mother of Badreddine Zouaghi, a 19 year old high school student who was injured amidst the unrest in Siliana, was present at this morning’s protest in front of the UGTT headquarters.
“My son did not participate in the protests of Siliana,” she said, explaining that he was caught by a volley of buckshot pellets as he was standing in the street. “All I need is that my son gets back his eye sight.”