Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Tunisia: General Strike Against Islamists Underway.

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Reuters reports from Chokri Belaid’s funeral in Tunis, which is being attended by tens of thousands of mourners.Crowds surged around an open army truck carrying Belaid’s coffin, draped in a red and white Tunisian flag, from a cultural centre in the slain leader’s home district of Jebel al-Jaloud, the news agency reports.

Demonstrators with flags and banners packed surrounding streets.”Belaid, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle,” they chanted, holding portraits of Belaid.Some shouted slogans against Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party. “Ghannouchi, assassin, criminal,” they chanted. “Tunisia is free, terrorism out.”

Al Jazeera on Chokri Belaid,

Shokri Belaid, a lawyer born in 1964 in the Tunisian town of Jebel Jelloud, was a staunch critic of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country’s former authoritarian ruler, who was overthrown as a result of the revolution in 2010-2011.

Belaid denounced the clampdown on miners in 2008 and after the revolution, he was a leading member of the Popular Front, an umbrella organisation of 12 opposition parties, including his own Democratic Patriots.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra said that the coalition is “a gathering of leftists, secular activists totally opposed to the policies of the predominantly Islamist government in Tunisia”.

“[Belaid] has been a vocal critic of the government, saying that the outcome of the revolution in Tunisia was the growing power and influence of the Islamists. He’s been reiterating the same message of the Islamists being a threat to democracy in the country, and said that what the country needs to have instead is a democratic government which has been deeply entrenched in Tunisia to prevail,” Ahelbarra said.

He said Belaid’s position earned him many opponents within the Tunisian political society – particularly among conservatives and Islamists.

Earlier this week, Belaid had said that the committees established out of the revolution were a “tool” used by the government and Islamists to get rid of the coalition party.

He was fatally shot outside his home in El Menzah, near Tunis, on February 6, 2013, with bullets to his head and chest.

L’Humanité warns,

Les menaces contre des personnalités et, partant, contre tous ceux qui ne partagent pas le projet islamiste ne relèvent plus de la fiction. « Il est clair que plus personne n’est dorénavant à l’abri des expéditions de liquidation d’escadrons de la mort », écrit le Quotidien, qui se fait l’écho de craintes d’un scénario à l’algérienne, sous forme d’un basculement du pays dans un cyle de violences sanglant.

Threats against individuals, and indeed, against everybody who does not share the Islamist project, are from made-up, ‘It is clear that henceforth nobody is safe from being ‘liquidated’ by death-squads’, writes Le Quotidien (Tunisian daily). This echoes those who fear an Algerian scenario, which will drag the country in a cycle of blood-stained violence.

The Parti Communiste Français has issued the following declaration of solidarity with the Tunisian people and pays homage to  beloved comrade Chokri Belaid.

Solidarité du PCF avec le peuple tunisien.

Le congrès du PCF a réaffirmé sa solidarité avec le peuple tunisien, en rendant un hommage appuyé à Chokri Belaïd, secrétaire général du Watad, assassiné mercredi. « Nous avons toutes et tous été consternés d’apprendre l’assassinat de cette figure emblématique du Front populaire, la principale coalition progressiste de Tunisie », a déclaré Francis Wurtz, qui présidait la séance inaugurale. « Cette exécution politique, que notre parti a condamnée avec force, suscite une profonde émotion et beaucoup d’inquiétude pour la Tunisie, a-t-il souligné.’

The PCF congress reaffirms its solidarity with the Tunisian people, and gives its deepest homage to Chokri Belaïd, General Secretary of Watad, assassinated on Wednesday. ‘We have all been deeply moved to learn of the assassination of this symbolic figure of the Front Populaire, the principal opposition coalition in Tunsia.’ declared Francis Wurtz, who Chaired the inaugural session of the Conference. ‘The political execution, that our Party condemns strongly, has aroused deep emotions and great worries for Tunisia’, he emphasised. ‘

The Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste announces, “Solidarité et mobilisation après l’assassinat de Chokri Belaïd”

They note that Chokri Belaid has already been the victim of the Islamists,

Il était l’objet d’une campagne haineuse des islamistes pour son implication dans les mobilisations sociales en cours. Le 2 février, il avait déjà fait l’objet d’un agression par des salafistes à l’occasion du congrès de son parti. La veille de son assassinat, il soulignait à la télévision la responsabilité du gouvernement dirigé par Ennahdha dans les agressions verbales et physiques dont il était l’objet.

He was the target of a hate campaign by Islamists because of his activism in support in social movement protests. On the 2nd of February he was attacked by Salafists  during his Party Congress. On the eve of his murder he emphasised the Ennahdha government’s responsibility in the verbal and physical attacks that he had been subjected to.

Read also this important account of Belaid’s political background on the left, his Marxism and his democratic activism.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Islam, Islamism, North Africa, Religion, Tunisia

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2 Responses

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  1. “,,,cette figure emblématique du Front populaire, la principale coalition progressiste de Tunisie », a déclaré Francis Wurtz…”

    “…this symbolic figure of the Front Populaire, the principal oppressive coalition in Tunsia.’ declared Francis Wurtz…”

    Mistype. Redact!


    February 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm

  2. Indeed.

    Andrew Coates

    February 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

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