Tunisian Lawmakers Reject Motion Demanding French Apology
Following a marathon 15-hour debate, the Tunisian parliament on Wednesday voted down a motion calling on France to apologize for alleged crimes committed during and after colonial rule. France controlled the North African country from 1881 to 1956, when Tunisia gained independence. The bill was advanced by the Islamist Al-Karama party, which holds only 19 of 217 seats in the legislature. It called for France to express regret for “assassinations… rapes… and the pillaging of natural resources,” as well as for supporting former president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. After nearly 25 years in power, Ben Ali was deposed during the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in December 2010 when the self-immolation of a street vendor shamed by police sparked nationwide protests.