Mob attacks two Tunis shelters for LGBTQ people from sub-Saharan Africa

© Screengrab/video from our Observer

A mob of men wielding sticks and knives attacked a shelter for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa on February 23. Police called to the site arrested at least eight people from sub-Saharan Africa, even though they have refugee status and are therefore legal residents in Tunisia. This is the latest violence to occur in a climate of growing hostility towards Black Africans, spurred by a campaign of repression by the authorities and xenophobic comments made by the Tunisian president.

A group of men attacked a shelter for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa in Ariana, a northern suburb of Tunis during the night of Thursday, February 23. For residents at the shelter, it was a night of pure terror. Many were beaten while others sustained knife wounds. About thirty people, including at least six people in possession of refugee cards from the United Nations, were arrested that night.

This wasn’t the first attack of its kind. A few days earlier, on Monday, February 20, another mob attacked another shelter for LGBTQ refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, this one located in Bab el Khadhra, in the centre of Tunis.

The FRANCE 24 Observers team spoke to two refugees who were there during the attack in Ariana on February 23.

'The son of the landlord threatened to evict us. The next day, he returned with an armed mob'

I don’t live in this shelter but we decided to gather together in one apartment for safety after the attack on another shelter for LGBTQ people from sub-Saharan Africa on February 20.

They grabbed my hair, hard enough to pull out some of my locks and they stabbed several people. Other people were beaten, punched in the face.

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