The Tunisian Protests – Will the history repeat itself?

Youth gather in huge numbers in central Tunis, on Saturday, to support the country’s biggest demonstration in years!

Tunisian Protests- Stone Pelters on the Streets of Ettadhamen, Tunisia
Stone Pelters on the Streets of Ettadhamen, Tunisia

6th February,2021

Tunis: The Tunisian Protests were to mark the anniversary of the killing of a prominent activist in 2013. Protestors, comprising mostly of the youth were out in huge numbers. Tunisia’s powerful Labor union backed the rally. The UGTT union, one of Tunisia’s most powerful political organizations also supported Saturday’s rally.

They gathered in central Tunis defying a police lockdown. The lockdown asked to block roads in many areas in the capital.

Now, Youth Unrest, Economic degeneration, and frustration are worrying Tunisia’s leadership. After all, it is the country that was the eye of the storm called ‘Arab Spring’, in 2011. The protest groups have grown in size, since Friday. The demonstrations have turned violent, especially in cities around Tunis. They are throwing stones, looting, and clashing with the police.

The protestors are against police abuses too that have disintegrated the freedom won in 2011. Ten years back, the protests overthrew strongman President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Therefore, the authorities have given a tough response to the dissent. They fear the history to repeat itself. So, they deployed the army in four hot spots.

In short, It has to bring down the tension and protect the national institutions. The youth tried to damage the buildings.

 The Reason of the Tunisian Protests

The exact causes are unclear. However, the main dissatisfaction in the youth is because of the dire economy of the nation. One-third of Tunisia’s youth are unemployed. The still fortune is also making many unhappy. In addition, one-fifth of the country lies below the poverty line, as the National Institute of Statistics states.

Placards like-  “Employment is a right, not a favor”, show the unhappiness of the youth. Specifically, The Youth is angry for the broken promises.

President Kaïs Saied, the democratically elected leader, and his government have failed. In truth, They have not been able to reverse the economy from the verge of Bankruptcy. 

“The government must go … We’ll return to the streets, get our rights and our dignity back”

said Maher Abid, an unemployed protester

 The protest is continuing even during the night. “No fear! The street belongs to the people”- the slogans say. Social media is acting as the platform for conveying the ill-treatment of the people. The youth is speaking their heart out on social sites.

The Pandemic too has played a crucial role in this outburst. The tourism sector supports many families in the country. But, it has remained inactive. Further, to increase the unrest and tension came the random lockdown and night curfew since October.

 President Saied claims that Islamist forces are ‘acting in the shadows’. Indeed those forces are trying hard to bring down the democratically elected government, he says.

International Response

The world leaders have made no comments for the Tunisian protests. Probably, they consider it as an internal matter of the North-African nation.

Many human right organizations have appealed to use restraint against the protestors and protect their rights as citizens. Still, the authorities have relied on the army and have advocated the use of tear gas. However, not all agree with the force being used and have called it as ‘not the most appropriate method’.

The Tunisian protests were held to mark the death anniversary of a secular activist and lawyer Chokri Belaid. Unfortunately, He was assassinated by a suspected Islamist in February 2013.
Chokri Belaid (File Photo)

The protests were held to mark the death anniversary of a secular activist and lawyer Chokri Belaid. Unfortunately, He was assassinated by a suspected Islamist in February 2013.


Author- Apexa Rai


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