Tunisians erase Ben Ali's regime

Bit by bit, people are rejecting all the symbols that were associated with the former president and his party.

    Remnants of the old regime linger in Tunisia, and it remains unclear exactly what will replace them.

    Already, Tunisians are partaking in a collective cleansing of everything that reminds them of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's rule.

    Protesters managed to climb to the top of the headquarters of the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), a tall building that dominates downtown Tunis. They stripped away part of the red lettering, even if traces remain, for now …

    Wearing the president's favourite colour, purple, has become a fashion no-no. Gone are the days when sycophants donned purple ties in the hope of scoring easy promotions. One man told me he made the mistake of wearing a purple tie to work, only to be scolded by his co-workers.

    Likewise, references to the formerly omnipresent number seven – Ben Ali took power on November 7, 1987 – are fast drying up. A Facebook group called “Against the ridiculous cult of the number 7!” has already attracted 1,349 members.

    Dozens, if not hundreds, of luxury cars, abandoned on the capital’s streets by members of the Trabelsi family and others close to the former president, are being confiscated by authorities.

    This photo sent to me by Rafik Ouerchefani shows a towing truck about to take away a Porsche Cayenne Turbo parked on Rue Lac Victoria (note the missing number plate).

    Perhaps the most ominous attempt to erase the past is the burning and shredding of official documents that is being reported across the country.

    This unverified video shows two men burning a pile of papers next to an official building in Boumhal, south of Tunis. What might the documents have revealed?




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