Tunisians demonstrators call for gov’t to control illegal migration


Hundreds of Tunisian demonstrators gathered in the city of Jebeniana on Sunday as part of wider protests against the national government’s perceived failure to control illegal migration.

Numerous small villages, such as Jebeniana, which straddles Tunisia’s 1,300 km (807.78 mi) coastline, have erupted in anti-migrant frustration amid surging local resentment towards the continued presence of migrants fleeing sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Sunday was the second day this month that anti-migrant protests occurred in Jebeniana and El Amra, another affected city.

Demands government provide more resources to handle migrant encampments

Demonstrators are demanding that the Tunisian government provide the affected villages with additional financial and logistical resources to handle the seemingly permanent makeshift encampments, which are being used as staging grounds for boat trips across the Mediterranean to Europe.

A Tunisian flag flutters atop of the Palace of Justice building in Tunis, Tunisia May 13, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/JIHED ABIDELLAOUI)

Last year, Tunisia struck a deal with the European Union in which Brussels committed more than $1 billion in assistance as part of an effort to bolster the North African nation’s immigration enforcement capabilities.

The Tunisian Coast Guard claims to have prevented over 21,000 migrant attempts to reach Italy in 2024 alone, while the United Nations refugee agency has reported a threefold decrease in successful crossings through April compared to 2023.

The International Organization for Migration Tunisia branch says some 7,000 migrants live in or near Jebeniana and El Amra.

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