Senegalese passengers assaulted and beaten in Tunis-Carthage airport

Senegalese passengers assaulted and beaten in Tunis-Carthage airport
Tunisian authorities assaulted a number of Senegalese passengers in the capital's Tunis-Carthage airport, amid chaos caused by a number of flight delays.
3 min read
09 July, 2022
The assaults took place in Tunis's international airport, as a number of passengers- including ones from Senegal - were left stranded amid flights delays and cancellations [Getty]

Senegalese flight passengers were subjected to a number of racist incidents in the Tunisian capital's airport earlier this week, sparking outrage online.

The Tunis-Carthage international airport has been experiencing a number of cancelled flights and delays, leaving passengers stranded in airports.

Activists say that passengers from non-sub-Saharan African countries were favoured with respect to being put on a flight, whereas passengers from sub-Saharan African countries - notably Senegal - were left with no flight to travel on.

Videos circulating online on Thursday and Friday showed Tunisian authorities attacking and assaulting Senegalese travelers with batons in the airport, prompting an outcry from activists and Twitter users, who decried the racism the passengers were being subjected to. 

Meanwhile, others called for Senegalese government and foreign ministry to demand a probe into the incidents.

Authorities can also be seen putting a passenger in a chokehold amid the chaos, handcuffing him later and taking him away, while fellow airport goers can be heard proclaiming the victim's innocence. 

The attacks against the passengers allegedly took place following a flight delay from the airport to Senegal. According to the Francophone pan-African daily Jeune Afrique, Tunisia has very few aircrafts ready to take flight, leading to chaos and a number of flight cancellations.

The chaos comes as several passenger were flying out to their respective home countries in time for Eid al-Adha celebrations, leaving several people unable to make it on time.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian airport union claims that the Senegalese passengers were the first to attack.

Some social media users have drawn parallels with the passengers' treatment at the hands of Tunisian authorities with the devasting migrant death incidents that occurred in the Spanish enclave of Melilla bordering Morocco last month, where at least 23 migrants were killed and dozens injured.

In 2018, Tunisia parliament unanimously passed the the "Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Act", criminalising discrimination, including racism.

However, incidents of racism are still reported against the North African country’s black minority, as well as the sub-Saharan migrant community that lives there.