Tunisia's Bardo museum in symbolic reopening

2015-03-24 19:47
Tunisian's president Beji Caid Essebsi lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. (Ali Louati, AP)

Tunisian's president Beji Caid Essebsi lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. (Ali Louati, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - Tunisia's Bardo museum held a ceremonial reopening on Tuesday a week after gunmen claiming alliance with Islamic State killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack aimed at wrecking the country's vital tourism industry.

Several thousand Tunisians and foreign visitors to an international forum also marched in the capital Tunis to show solidarity with the Bardo victims who included Japanese, Spanish, Italians and Colombians.

Tunisia is keen to show it can recover from the attack which threatens to damage tourism and mar the country's young democracy four years after a 2011 uprising ended the one-party rule of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Last Wednesday, at least two Tunisian men opened fire on tourists as they got off buses at the Bardo, in one of the worst such incidents in the North African nation for a decade.

Security forces later shot dead the two men, who had been recruited at mosques in Tunisia and subsequently trained at a jihadist camp in Libya.

Tunisians carrying national flags and waving "Visit Tunisia" signs gathered behind barriers outside the Bardo, where dignitaries were invited under tight security to a symbolic reopening with an orchestra playing inside the museum hall.

The Bardo, which has a famed collection of art and artefacts covering more than 3 000 years of history, is expected to welcome back the public at the weekend.

"We don't have any fear, we just want to show solidarity with our country, the government and the Tunisian people," said Tunisian businessman Ali Degez, joining others at the barriers in central Tunis.

Participants at the World Social Forum being held in Tunis marched down a boulevard near the museum, waving Tunisia's red and white national flag and chanting "Terrorists out" and "Tunisia still Stands".

3 000 cancellations

"No one is far removed from this phenomenon, it's all over the world," said Anabel Cardol, a Belgian visitor.

Tunisia's tourism minister has said only 3 000 cancellations had been received since the killings, but the impact is likely to be much greater than that. A number of cruise lines have already announced that they will suspend visits to the country, meaning thousands less visitors in the months ahead.

Last year some six million tourists came to Tunisia, generating around $2 billion in revenues.

The Bardo assault shocked Tunisia, which had mostly managed to escape the upheaval of other "Arab Spring" countries four years after its own revolt toppled autocrat Ben Ali.

Tunisia has since been hailed as a model for compromise politics between secular and Islamist politicians, approving a progressive new constitution and holding presidential and parliamentary elections last year.

But the attack underscored how Islamist militants are trying to turn their sights on North Africa as a new front beyond their main battlefield of Iraq and Syria, with Islamic State loyalists already gaining a foothold in neighbouring Libya.

Read more on:    isis  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.