Tunisian football fans threaten to illegally cross into Italy in protest

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By Africanews and AFP

Almost 2,000 protesters in Tunisia are threatening to cross into Italy illegally by the sea in protest at their local football club’s suspension from the league.

Earlier this month The Tunisian football federation banned CS Chebba for a year for an incomplete and late membership application.

The club’s president has for months been at odds with the federation’s chief, Wadie Jary, especially after Facebook posts criticising the TFF’s financial dealings.

Hundreds of angry fans have taken to the streets of the town blocking roads and setting tyres on fire in protest at the suspension.

“In response to the silence of the authorities, residents have decided to leave the country and head for Italy,” Mohamed Ali Abbas, a support committee member, told AFP

They have now put up a tent for people to register for the crossings, which is planned for early Thursday on some 200 boats.

More than 1,300 people, including women and children, have signed up.

The club’s president has for months been at odds with the federation’s chief, Wadie Jary, especially after Facebook posts criticising the TFF’s financial dealings.

Illegal sea crossings to Europe from Tunisia have been on the rise ever since 2017, largely driven by economic woes after a 2011 revolution that many hoped would bring change.