Norfolk woman speaks of holiday in strife-torn Tunisia

A Norfolk woman who was evacuated from chaos-hit Tunisia has spoken of how it was like a 'war zone'.

Viv Bishop, from Holt, was one of thousands of Britons to be flown home on emergency flights from the north African country after violent riots erupted.

A state of emergency was declared in the popular winter sun destination after the president fled the country and a dusk to dawn curfew was put in place.

Travel agents rushed to withdraw their customers and the Foreign Office warned against all non-essential travel to the country.

Ms Bishop, who had flown to Tunisia last Wednesday with her daughter Martine, 29, and grandson Logan, four, arrived back in the UK on Saturday - just three days into their week-long holiday.

You may also want to watch:

She said everything seemed 'quite quiet' at the hotel where they were staying but as they travelled by coach to the airport, the full scale of the turmoil became apparent.

The 53-year-old, who lives in Neil Avenue, Holt, said: 'A mile up the road, the shops were smashed, people were protesting in the street and there was chanting and then in the next village, it was like being in war zone. We were frightened, of course we were, it was horrendous.

Most Read

'I'm glad we came back. I didn't want to go at first but I'm glad we got away from it all. My daughter's boyfriend, who is still there and is Tunisian, said it's absolutely petrifying.'

She said when they got to the airport, there were no military personnel or police officers, the petrol station outside had been blown up and a prison was torched.

Tunisia has been swept by anti-government protests for the past three weeks. The unrest spread to the capital, Tunis, for the first time at the end of last week.

On Friday, travel companies Thomas Cook and First Choice announced they were going to fly all their customers home.

Richard Waudby, 52, from King's Lynn, who was flown back to the UK just over a week into a seven-week holiday in Hammamet, said he thought it was an 'overreaction'.

He said: 'A lot of people wanted to stay but we were told that if we stayed then we wouldn't get a flight back. We didn't have any choice.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter