Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian visit to Ras Djir, Tunisia, almost turned into a human tragedy after she touched off a near riot among Libyan refugees today (April 5). The actress was unhurt as the crowd surged, with some screaming they would die for her.
Thousands of refugees lined up to see the United Nations goodwill ambassador, according to an X-17 photographer.
Angelina, 35, traveled to a refugee camp in Tunisia to publicize the need for continued funding of the thousands of refugees who crossed into Tunisia to escape the violence in war-torn Libya.
Jolie was unharmed during the near-riot, but was forced to cancel the second half of her visit (to a Moroccan hospital) for security reasons.
“When people found out Angelina was leaving early, they had mixed reaction. Some were upset but still enthusiastic to have her there,” the photographer said.
“Angelina was forced to find shelter in a tent and she had to be protected by 30 military personal with machine guns. Angelina really took a risk by going all the way to the Libyan border.”
Angelina, who has been a UN goodwill ambassador since 2001, is expected to head to Paris next.
During the past decade, Jolie and partner Brad Pitt have donated millions of dollars to charity and traveled extensively on humanitarian missions in her UN role.
In her teens and early twenties, Angelina admits she was sometimes self-destructive, experimenting with drugs and going through bouts of severe depression.
“I knew little about the world and I was completely self-absorbed,” Jolie has said.
In 2001, Jolie was named the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Since then, she has visited UNHCR refugee operations in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia, Thailand, Pakistan and Ecuador.