Tunisian Internet Citizens Protest Against Censorship

Tunisian Internet Citizens Protest Against Censorship
May 20th, 2010Nadia (Tunisia)

Since the last time I wrote on Mideast Youth about the Tunisian campaign against censorship on the internet and « Ammar scissorhands », many things happened. The campaign is a success. Thousands of Tunisian internet citizens joined the campaign through related Facebook pages and events, filled the tweeple’s timelines with news about it, took pictures, made videos, shared them and talked about the campaign everywhere. Even some radio and TV shows slipped a word about it, which is a first: The silent crowd is not so silent anymore.

In news websites and blogs, many are talking about the « Sayyeb Salah » campaign and supporting it. And it has been decided that the campaign on the Internet was not enough, and that a « Real Protest for Virtual Freedom » should take place in Tunis and some other cities around the world on the same day, so Tunisians could gather peacefully and speak their mind, asking for the censorship on the Internet to stop completely.

Therefore a protest demonstration will take place on may 22nd in Tunis, Paris, Brussels, Bonn, New York and Montreal.

In Tunis, as it was necessary to make an official “declaration of gathering”, three volunteers have been trying for days to do things legally and follow the rules, and this is not easy.
Every day they went to a different administration, ask how and where to make this official declaration, visit police offices, try to talk to someone who could take the responsibility of receiving their statement about the protest demonstration, send certified mail. And every day, they came back with a new video where they tell exactly what they did and what happened, like a diary of their adventures in the Tunisian administration. These people may be taking some risks, exposing themselves to any kind of harassment, but they are going on and sharing with us the details of their experience.

In other cities around the world, the organization of a protest demonstration is easier, and even if there are rules and recommendations to follow, everything appears to be going well until now.

Apart from the official declarations and the terms of the protest, the participants will be wearing a specific outfit. In most places the basic outfit will be a white T-shirt, possibly customized with explicit slogans about the campaign, like « Sayyeb Salah », « », « 404 » (the error code received when you visit a censored website in Tunisia). In Tunis, people are asked to wear white and gather in the town center so they can be recognized as supporters of the protest even if they don’t want to be openly part of it. Customized T-shirts have been made in Tunis and some more pictures have also been shared about this.

Nobody knows for sure what will happen in less than 2 days, but we are anxious to see how many will dare to go march on the streets of Tunis and around the world to raise their voices and tell Ammar to stop the massacre on the Internet. Will the hundreds and thousands of supporters be there?

In the meantime, we are watching Ammar and his mad scissors taking away a little peace of freedom everyday, and hoping for everyone’s support, encouragement and involvement.

By Nadia From Tunis , Original post with links here

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