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Tunisia, Islamist Government ‘Destablised’.

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Al Jazeera reports,

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has rejected calls for his resignation after three days of violent protests against economic hardship left more than 300 people injured.

Jebali, the leader of the Islamist Ennahdha party, accused secular liberals and religious Salafis of harming the country’s economy and international image through their conflict with one another.

Ennahdha often presents itself as a “middle-way compromise” party, but Jebali on Thursday accused opposition parties of sowing disorder and called for the violence in the northern city of Siliana to end.

“The violence that has occurred requires us to take a stand – the unions, the parties and organisations – against, let us say, the mutual violence,” Jebali said.But demonstrators said they were not behind the violence, as police officers were caught on camera, beating protesters among the crowd of 15,000 people.

Staff at a nearby hospital said a dozen people hit with pellets from shotguns may lose their sight.

More reports:

En Tunisie, les émeutes de Siliana déstabilisent le gouvernement d’Ennahda

The riots in Siliana are destabilising the Ennahad (Islamist) government says LE MONDE

Le président tunisien, Moncef Marzouki, est intervenu à la télévision, vendredi soir 30 novembre, après quatre jours de violentes émeutes à Siliana – une ville située dans une région agricole à 120 kilomètres au sud-ouest de Tunis, où l’armée s’est déployée en fin de journée – pour réclamer la formation d’un gouvernement restreint de “compétences”.

After four days of violent rioting in Siliana The Tunisian President Moncef Marzouk appeared on television Friday evening. This town, in an agricultural region 120 kilomomtres South-West from Tunis has seen the army intervene in the evening. He called for a new government with the task of dealing with the unrest.

“Nous n’avons pas une seule Siliana, a poursuivi le chef de l’Etat. J’ai peur que cela se reproduise dans plusieurs régions, et que cela menace l’avenir de la révolution.”

He continued, “We do not have just one Siliana. I am concerned this situation spreads to other regions, threatening the future of the revolution’.

In Tunis the independent trade union federation, the UGTT, organised on Friday  a demonstration (about 400 -500 people) in support of the protesters in Siliana (Here).

Increasingly the UGGT is  in conflict with the Islamist-led government.

Time reports,

The Tunisian army withdrew from Siliana on Saturday only hours after entering the flashpoint town following days of intense clashes with protesters, a police official said.

“The army had offered to come and provide security for a few days, but the interior ministry refused,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

His remarks were echoed by two other sources in the police force.

Protesters took to the streets of Siliana this week demanding Governor Ahmed Ezzine Majjoubi’s resignation, financial aid, the end of police attacks, and that security reinforcements be ordered out.

The four days of violence left more than 300 people wounded, as political instability mounts two years after Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising.

The military entered Siliana on Friday, to the cheers of crowds, as the main trade union announced that the army would take over security from police who have been accused of abuse and violence.

New demonstrations were planned for later Saturday in the impoverished town, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Tunis.

Bikaymasr reports,

TUNIS: Amnesty International is deeply concerned by reports that as many as 300 protesters and  bystanders have been injured by the Tunisian police’s use of excessive force in Siliana, a city south west of Tunis, during demonstrations on 27, 28 and 29 November. Protesters have been calling for the departure of the governor of Siliana, economic development of the town and the release of 13 detainees arrested during protests in April 2011 and who remain in pre-trial detention. Further protests were reported on 29 November as a general strike continued.

Shotguns and other firearms appear to have been used, as well as teargas, by law enforcement against protesters on 27, 28 and 29 November.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm