Tunisian turmoil for local holidaymakers

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HOLIDAY-MAKERS hoping for a relaxing winter break in the sun had their plans thrown into turmoil when rioting broke out in Tunisia.

Couples from the Skegness area had to cut their trips short when the foreign office called for the evacuation of all Britons from the trouble afflicted African nation.

One Addlethorpe pensioner who sold her gold jewellery to pay for the holiday felt betrayed by the travel company for failing to inform them of the dangers.

Fay Markham said: “It was obvious the war was imminent because the locals were telling us. The company we flew with must have known there was trouble but no one told us anything.”

“Our holiday was cut short by five weeks and we’ve only been offered £300 in vouchers.

“I’ve said to my husband I don’t want to fly again, this was going to be our last holiday but it was just one disaster after another.”

Fay and her husband Colin flew out on January 2 to spend six weeks at a popular tourist destination near the town of Sousse.

Shop-keepers warned them about the civil unrest caused by the country’s autocratic leader and mass unemployment but the first they heard of the trouble erupting was a tearful phone call from their concerned daughter.

Later that evening they were told by hotel staff that they were being evacuated at 7am the following morning.

However the ensuing chaos left them and hundreds of other British holiday-makers waiting until 4pm before they finally got on a coach to the airport.

As they drew closer to the conflict zones the full extent of the carnage became apparent.

Black smoke could be seen billowing from the airport as the coach had to take detours to avoid riot stricken streets and burnt out buildings.

As fearful passengers boarded planes in near darkness several including a couple from Sutton-on-Sea were injured.

Graham and Glenis Wilson, who own a holiday home at South View Caravan Park, Skegness, also had their holiday cut short.

Despite their indignation at the holiday company for not informing them of the situation prior to leaving Graham has said he hasn’t been put off visiting again and expressed empathy with the repressed protesters.

“The people are brilliant, even those that were rioting were not hoodies or drop-outs, they were educated people like teachers and solicitors who are out of work and I think it’s going to be very much the same in this country the way things are going,” he said.

Like many of the tourists returning home, flights were scarce and the couple had to fly back to Glasgow before eventually catching a coach back to East Midlands. The Tunisian trouble, which was brought on by years of authoritarian dictatorship, was sparked when a seemingly insignificant police confiscation lit the touch paper on bubbling unrest amongst the public.