[QODLink]
Africa

Tunisia protesters demand end of government

Marchers rally call for dissolution of Islamist-led government and appointment of technocrats.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 01:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Tunis - Thousands of Tunisians marched through the capital to call for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government.

Chanting "today, today, Ennahdha down today" - a reference to the main party in the government - the protesters marched towards the building housing the constituent assembly, which opposition deputies have boycotted for more than two weeks.

"After the blood, there is no legitimacy for the Ennahdha mafia," Mongi Rahoui, a National Constituent Assembly member from the leftist Unified Patriotic Democratic, told the crowd.

Chokri Belaid, the former leader of Rahoui’s party, was assassinated in February. A second opposition politician, Mohamed Brahimi, was assassinated on July 25, leading opposition parties to unit against the government.

The protest comes in the midst of the country’s biggest political deadlock since the fall of the former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in January 2011.

Deep distrust

There is a deep distrust on both sides over who will control the state’s institutions, particularly the agency that would oversee the country’s yet-to-be scheduled parliamentary and presidential elections.

The coalition of secularist opposition parties says that the government, led by Ennahdha, is failing to deal with the economic and security situation, and that it is time to appoint a government made up of non-politically aligned technocrats.

Ennahdha, acutely aware of the brutal crackdown on its fellow Islamist movement in Egypt, says it does not trust the opposition and that having won a majority in the constituent assembly in the 2011 elections, it still has legitimacy.

Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh of Ennahdha said on Tuesday that he would not tolerate violence in the protests calling for his government to resign. Opposition politicians have said the protest will be peaceful.

The Tunisian Union General Labour Union is acting as a negotiating party. Ennahdha provisionally accepted the union’s proposal in a meeting on Thursday.

Opposition leaders, however, found the terms offered by Ennahdha to be unacceptable, and insist on the immediate dissolution of the government.

Even within Ennahdha’s base, there are those who are frustrated with what is widely viewed as the party’s appeasing of its ultra-conservative faction.

Kallel Nabil, a devoted Ennahdha supporter whose family was oppressed under the old regime, who says he does not trust any secularist politicians.

No matter what, he said, he is still voting for the Islamist party in the next election, but he told Al Jazeera it was in the party's interests for its more liberal politicians be given a more influential role.

“[Ennahdha leader Rachid] Ghannouchi is not clear, I say that even as an Ennahdha supporter,” he said outside El Khir Mosque after midday prayer.

“Ghannouchi should take [Habib] Ellouz and [Sadok] Chourou with him to focus on religion, and stay out of politics,” he said, referring to two of the party’s most ultra-conservative leaders.

Follow Yasmine Ryan on Twitter @yasmineryan

481

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.