Thousands protest in Tunis after secular politician slain By Tarek Amara 25 July 2013
(Reuters) - Tunisian opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead outside his home in Tunis on Thursday in the second such assassination this year, setting off mass protests against the Islamist-led government in the capital and elsewhere. (read more)
Tunisia: Investigate Killing of Opposition Figure Second Assassination of Leftist Coalition Member By Human Rights Watch 25 July 2013
(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities should thoroughly, speedily, and transparently investigate the assassination on July 25, 2013, in Tunis, of the prominent opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi. Brahmi was the second opposition leader to be assassinated since the ouster of president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. (read more)
Tunisian police clash with hardline Islamists, one killed By Tarek Amara, Reuters 11 April 2013
Police fired on Islamists attacking a police station in a southern Tunisian town, killing one person, a security source said, in the latest incident to raise religious tensions in the North African country.
Hundreds of Salafists - followers of a puritanical interpretation of Islam - protested in front of the police station in Hergla on Thursday after officers arrested some of their comrades who had attacked alcohol sellers in the city, police and witnesses said.
"Police fired bullets on the Salafists who attacked a police station in Hergla town and tried to burn it down, killing one person and wounding others," a security source said. (read more)
Arab Spring faces cold, hard reality in Tunisia -- where it all began By Jamie Dettmer, FoxNews.com 20 March 2013
In Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began after a vendor set himself on fire to protest the government two years ago, the populace is growing disenchanted with the transition to democracy and an economy left in ruins by the regime change.
Social disruption, dramatic declines in mining and tourism and the Feb. 6 assassination of popular leftist leader Chokri Belaid, who was gunned down outside his home in the capital apparently by hard-line Islamists, known as Salafists, have all contributed to a darkened atmosphere inside the birthplace of the Arab Spring. There’s a sullen resentment at the failure of the Islamist government -- it is ruling with two secular center-left parties – to move the economy on.(read more)
A protestor holds a portrait of slain Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, during a demonstration to mark 40 days since his death, in Tunis, Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Amine Landoulsi/AP Photo)
Street vendors demonstrate against the government after the death of a cigarette vendor who torched himself in a street died in Tunis, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Adel Khadri who set himself alight on Tuesday in a street of the capital Tunis died from the severe burns he suffered, a medical official said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)
AP Interview: Tunisia PM to Crack Down on Violence By Bouazza Ben Bouazza, Associated Press 13 March 2013
Tunisian lawmakers approved a new government Wednesday, and the new prime minister vowed the leadership will end violence upending the North African nation's bid to move from revolution to democracy with tough measures against religious radicals and others who resort to violence.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said that respect for the law and for state institutions "will be our credo."
He said the new interior minister, Lotfi Ben Jeddou, will take firm measures in coordination with the military to end crime on all levels, including arms trafficking across Tunisia's border with Libya. He did not elaborate on the measures. (read more)
US Oders Some Diplomats out of Sudan, Tunisia
CBS News 17 September 2012
Tunisian police and army vehicles surround the U.S. Embassy, a day after several thousand demonstrators angry over a film that insults the Prophet Muhammad stormed the compound, Tunis, Tunisia, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Tunisia's governing moderate Islamist party condemned an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and the neighboring American school, saying Saturday that such violence threatens the country's progress toward democracy after decades of dictatorship. (read more)
Tunisia County Profile
July 24, 2012
In 1956 Tunisia gained its independence from French colonial rule. For many years following its independence, the country enjoyed a flourishing large middle class and liberal social norms under the rule of Habib Bourguiba who led the county for three decades. Bourguiba was a modern thinker who believed in the advancement of women, abolition of polygamy and compulsory free education for his people.
President Bourguiba drew a clear line against Islamic fundamentalists, and sought to further liberal thinking and education. In spite of the freedoms he allowed his people, behind closed doors he ruled with an iron fist. He ran a one party state and tolerated no dissent from opposition parties. His security forces harassed government critics and human rights activists. Corruption ran rampant in the middle class, ultimately leading to a collapse of the country’s economy.
In 1987 Bourguiba was ousted from power and Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali' became president. He continued most of Bourgiba’s policies against Islamic extremists and maintained autocratic rule. Ben Ali quickly lost popularity at home and abroad. Underground opposition movements grew. In 2002 a suicide bomber killed 21 people during an attack at an historic synagogue in the resort of Djerba.
In 2011 massive street demonstrations erupted against the Ben Ali regime. They became known as the Jasmine Revolution. The riots were so forceful that they prompted Ben Ali to step aside after 23 years in power. This movement began the Arab Spring. Since his removal from power formerly suppressed Islamic groups have risen causing tensions and conflict with secular liberals. In 2011 the country held its first free election, with the consensus in favor of drafting a new constitution and forming a new government. To the dismay of the secularists, the moderate Islamist party- Ennahda won the election. They assured secularists that they would “respect women’s rights and not try to impose a Muslim moral code on society.”
Despite these promises, conflicts have continued between Islamists and secularists. In May 2012, ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis went on a rampage, torching police stations and attacking bars that sold alcohol in several towns in the northwest. A television executive was fined $1,600 for showing the film, “Persepolis,” which the Salafists claimed was offensive to Muslims because it included a scene depicting God. Moderates were concerned about the conviction because it was the first prosecution for the exercise of free speech by the new government.
The policies of the new government have scared away tourists who once contributed greatly to the country’s flourishing economy, causing a rise in poverty. Ultra-conservative militant Islamists continue to pose a threat to secular liberals.
Despite its successful elections, and transition to democratic government, Tunisia remains polarized, with violence between liberal and Islamist groups.
Genocide Watch Stage 5: Polarization.
Please send information to Tunisia@genocidewatch.org