Tunisian’s Government Lift Ban on Demonstrations on Tunis Main Boulevard
On Wednesday, the Tunisian government reversed the law banning demonstrations on Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis. Bourghiba avenue was the focal point where Tunisians demonstrated until the step down of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The decision to ban demonstrations on the street came on March 28th by the Ministry of Interior. After the crackdown on demonstrators by security forces on Monday, the day commemorating the the bloody crackdown by French colonial troops on a protest in Tunis on April 9 1938, the law was repealed.
Opposition groups used the commemoration of the holiday, referred to as Martyr’s Day, to challenge the ban on demonstrations on the Avenue. However the march turned into violent confrontations between the protesters throwing stones and the police officers using teargas and batons. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki mentioned (Fr) a “level of unacceptable violence.” Today, Minister of Interior, Ali Larayedh, faced questions in the parliament in response to Monday’s events. During Larayedh ‘s hearing, journalists walked out of the Constituent Assembly as an act of protest in solidarity with journalists that were harassed by security forces during Monday’s clashes. Larayedh denounced “parts of the media” for having “added fuel to the flames” of the demonstrations. However, during the hearing, some supporters of the Minister of Interior gathered outside of the Parliament denouncing opposition parties for not respecting the Tunisians will that voted for the moderate Islamist party Ennhada heading the current government.
Meanwhile, Adel al-Shawsh, member of the Ettajdid Movement, an opposition party, called for a debate between the different moderate factions to counterbalance Ennahda. “The balance of power also needs to be changed and a moderate party that can counter the Islamist influence has to be established,” said al-Shawsh. The political analyst, Soufian bin Farahat, said that the Tunisian “society was split into two camps: one that presents itself as a representative of Islam and a defender of the Tunisian identity and the other stands for modernity and struggles to keep progressive gains acquired in the past.”