Tunisian lawmakers reject motion on French colonial apology
CAPE TOWN - The Tunisian parliament has rejected a bid by the opposition calling on France to apologise for crimes committed during and after its colonial rule, Turkish-based Anadolu News Agency reports.
The motion was presented by the small opposition Islamic party Al-Karama, which holds 19 seats in the 217-member parliament
According to the publication, only 77 votes were cast in favour of the motion, far short of 109 votes needed for it to pass.
The motion called on France to apologise for “assassinations, rapes, the pillaging of natural resources” and an alleged list of “other crimes committed since 1881".
The motion also included that France apologize for supporting former president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, reported English-language daily news publication Arab News.
Ben Ali was ousted in the country’s 2010-2011 uprising, which is also known as the Arab Spring.
The uprising was the trigger for similar revolts that toppled autocratic leaders across the region in a wave of protest dubbed the Arab Spring, reported the North Africa Journal.
Furthermore, the motion also called for compensations to those who were affected and damaged by these crimes.
The debate which took 15 hours and went into the night, saw the opposition wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan: “Murder and torture, the brutality of French colonialism,” writes Arab News.
Tunisia was a French protectorate from 1881 until it gained independence in 1956.
A year later it was declared a republic.
France is Tunisia's biggest trade partner, with around 1,300 French companies and firms operating in the North African country, writes Anadolu.
- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay