A committee formed by the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) has accused the Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution of involvement in an attack on the union’s headquarters on December 4th 2012. A report on the incident was released on Saturday.
The five-member committee tasked with investigating responsibility for the attacks consists of a human rights lawyer, a UGTT official, a judge, and two academics.
The report cited witness testimonies claiming that many people from the Leagues were present during the incident, including the Leagues’ president, Mohamed Maalej. The committee asserts that the Leagues arranged the attack in advance, using social media to gather their supporters, and that members of the Ennahdha party were also involved.
Seven UGTT members were hospitalized after the attacks, according to the committee. The report states that video evidence from that day shows groups gathered in front of the headquarters violently attempting to break into the building. The incident occurred during the union’s commemoration of its founder, Farhat Hached. Seven UGTT members were hospitalized after the attacks, according to the union.
Nasreddine Wasfa, a spokesperson for the Leagues, told Tunisia Live that the report is biased, asserting that the presence of a UGTT member on the committee draws its conclusions into question.
Wasfa said that on the day of the attacks, the Leagues were protesting in front of the National Constituent Assembly, and could not have participated in the events at the UGTT headquarters.
“I can fabricate hundreds of videos just like those one fabricated by the union,” Wafsa said, questioning the evidence gathered by the committee.
Wasfa said that the protest at UGTT headquarters was actually gathered by a union member upset with the direction of the UGTT.
“What happened was merely an internal conflict as the union has not been honest about many things,” said Wasfa. “The union was involved with Ben Ali and the union members themselves wonder where the money goes.”
Update amended April 11th, 2013: The Ennahdha party issued a response to the report late in the day on April 10th, in which it rejected the “baseless accusations against it” of involvement in the attacks and asserted that Ennahdha party members at the scene “were seeking to calm the situation.”
The press release stated that Ennahdha was “surprised by the unilateral announcement” of the UGTT and that the report was “biased.”
“The group representing the UGTT within the commission has pre-empted the results of the investigation and rushed to accuse specific parties, including Ennahdha, of using violence,” the release continued.
Ennahdha added that it is committed “to maintaining the UGTT as a national organisation that protects the interests of workers and the country’s interests, rather than a tool in the hands of political parties that exploit unions for partisan agendas.”