Women demand justice
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During the days of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, the preoccupied National Guard and the police eased the surveillance and the border checks, allowing many boats to leave every day with young boys fleeing poverty, unemployment and looking for a better life in Europe.
On Dec. 17, 2010, the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable vendor and sole breadwinner for his family of seven, ignited national protests and led to the ousting of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his regime. The president officially resigned on Jan. 14, 2011, after 28 days of protest, putting an end to his 23-year- long rule. An intense campaign of civil resistance with street demonstrations made up the Tunisian uprising that became known as the Jasmine Revolution. In that period of transition and chaos, police brutally repressed protests and tens of thousands of Tunisians embarked on journeys across the Mediterranean. In this context, 29,685 Tunisian migrants were recorded as entering Italy irregularly in 2011, according to the Italian NGO Migration Policy Centre. The majority of the irregular crossings took place in the spring of 2011, at the peak of the revolution when Tunisian police forces were otherwise occupied and coastal control was relatively weak.

Text by Sara Manisera for Al Jazeera English