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Black Country protesters rally outside Thomas Cook in support of Tunisia

Sandwell | News | Published:

Protesters united in support of Tunisia during a demonstration in the Black Country.

Around 20 people gathered outside Thomas Cook at Oldbury Green Retail Park on Oldbury Ringway yesterday in protest against Foreign Office guidance against all but essential travel to the country.

The event was organised by the Tunisian Association in Britain and included a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the Sousse terror attack in June.

Chairman Mehdi Bahi and members of the Tunisian Association hold a minutes silence in memory of victims of the terror attacks in the country

Organiser Mehdi Bahi, who is originally from Tunis and has lived in the UK for eight years, said supporters had gathered 'in sympathy and solidarity'.

The 33-year-old car industry worker who lives in Oldbury, said: "We are protesting against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as they have and are still advising against all but essential travel to Tunisia.

"We do understand the fact that they lost lives, but we believe that that's what the terrorists wanted - to stop the tourism industry in our country.

"We believe that it is unfair because you can go and book a holiday to Turkey, but not to Tunisia. We are supporting the Tunisians."

Protesters took both Tunisian and Union Jack flags

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Mother-of-four Sarah Brindley, from East Avenue, Wednesfield, said: "I've been going for 20-odd years, two to three times a year and I've felt very safe there. It is a shame what has happened and at the end of the day it is our choice to decide whether to travel there.

"We are here to support all the Tunisians that have lost their jobs," added the 47-year-old.

Protesters said they wanted to support the Tunisian cause

Sales manager Rob Johnson, 59, from Woburn Crescent, West Bromwich, said: "We are British people who are concerned about the Tunisian cause and the employment situation over there.

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"I've had a couple of holidays to Tunisia, it's a place I would like to visit again.

"Whilst I understand after the tragedy there needs to be caution, I would like to have the choice to go there."

Nouredina Ahmed, who is from Tunisia and has lived in the UK for eight years, was also showing his support.

The 33-year-old from Wrens Croft, Heath Hayes, said: "What happened to my country was devastating."

He added: "It is affecting the economy, there's a lot of unemployed people and they are going to suffer for a long time."

The terror attack claimed the lives of Joel Richards, 19, from Wednesbury, his uncle Adrian Evans, 49, a Sandwell Council worker from Bilston and grandfather Patrick, aged 78.

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