Middle East

Thousands of Islamists rally, demand ‘cleansing’ of Tunisia

Supporters of the ruling moderate Islamist party Ennahda pray in a show of support for the Tunisian government.

TUNIS: Thousands of people protested in Tunis Friday, mostly supporters of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, demanding that Tunisia be “cleansed” of corrupt remnants of the ousted Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali regime.

The crowd gathered at government headquarters, calling for administrative purges in the media and opposition, notably members of the exiled dictator’s RCD party that once dominated Tunisian politics, to be speeded up.

“Tighten the screw,” “RCD get out,” and “The people want the judiciary and media to be cleansed,” were some of the slogans written on the placards of the protesters, who also flew Tunisian and Ennahda flags.

The demonstration was organized via social media by an informal movement known as “Ekbes” (“Get a move on,” in Arabic) that is close to the moderate Islamist party.

Officially, Ennahda played no part in the organization of the protest, which was mostly attended by its youth supporters who focused their attacks on the media and political opposition.

The rally was held as Islamists face accusations by opposition and civil society groups of interfering with press freedom, notably by appointing supporters to head state media companies.

The authorities, in response, say that they are simply trying to remove corrupt remnants of the former regime.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 08, 2012, on page 12.




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