Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 16 APR 2014
10:22 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
23 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Thousands in Tunisia rally behind Islamist party
Associated Press
Leader of the Islamist ruling party Ennahda, Rached El Ghannouchi, speaks to supporters during a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Activists from Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda denounce in a protest the plans for a government of technocrats  to solve the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Amine Landouls)
Leader of the Islamist ruling party Ennahda, Rached El Ghannouchi, speaks to supporters during a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Activists from Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda denounce in a protest the plans for a government of technocrats to solve the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Amine Landouls)
A+ A-

TUNIS: Thousands of supporters of the ruling Islamist party, waving banners and chanting, marched Saturday in the capital in response to rising criticism about Tunisia's direction two years after its revolution.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has run afoul of his own governing party, Ennadha, by announcing he would seek to form a Cabinet of technocrats after leftist opposition politician Chokri Belaid was shot dead outside his home on Feb. 6 - setting off anti-government riots around the country. Saturday's demonstration was a show of support for the party in the face of Jebali's initiative.

Along Avenue Bourguiba, some demonstrators held up Ennahda flags adorned with a blue dove, crescent moon and red star. Banners bore phrases such as: "We are here by the people's will, only bayonets will make us leave" and "The revolution continues." The thoroughfare was an epicenter of protests that forced longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power in January 2011, triggering a revolution that set off the so-called Arab Spring throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

"Ennahda is open to all Tunisians. It is the crucible where Islamists and modernists converge because it's an open and democratic movement. ... It represents the spinal column that holds Tunisia together," Ennadha leader Rachid Ghannouchi told the demonstrators outside the Tunis municipal theatre, to the cries of "God is Great" from many in the crowd.

Ennahda, a well-organized movement, was repressed under Ben Ali's secular rule and capitalized on the revolutionary fervor to win subsequent elections.

Some of Saturday's demonstrators were bussed in from Tunisia's more rural and impoverished central and western regions, and a smattering of Salafist militants and other radicals took part. Many insisted that Ennahda won the elections and that respect for democracy was paramount to safeguard the revolution.

"I am here to support the legitimacy of the ballot boxes and condemn violence - wherever it comes from. I am with democracy. It's fine by me, even if people choose other parties than Ennahda," said demonstrator Latifa Zayani, a schoolteacher in her 50s.

On Friday, Jebali said that talks between the opposition and the government would continue Monday on ways to defuse the political crisis. Only a day earlier, he had announced that he would seek to form a government of technocrats by Saturday - or resign. His initiative has backing of the opposition, but has put him on a collision course with Ennahda, which dominates the government and insists on sticking with a Cabinet of political figures.

The political crisis swelled after hundreds of thousands of people turned up at the funeral of Belaid, putting pressure on the Ennahda-led administration that was widely blamed for creating the violent environment that resulted in his death, as well as not solving persistent economic problems.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Tunisia
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
The presidential chess game has begun
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
China moves to the scary side of its boom
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS