June 25 marked two years since Tunisian President Kais Saied virtually took over the country in what has come to be called a ‘Presidential coup.’ Over the past two years, he has sought to reshape the state to fit his own vision. Notably missing in this project has been the people of Tunisia. Two years later, Tunisia has a new constitution and a new parliament but these were ‘approved’ despite intense opposition from political parties and civil society and extremely poor participation from the people. In a statement released on the anniversary of the Saied’s takeover, the Workers’ Party of Tunisia said that two years later, “the country is on the verge of bankruptcy and is suffering from increasing dependence.
Twelve years have passed since the Arab Spring, and both Egypt and Tunisia are facing a stark economic crisis. Both are currently under the mercy of extremely unfavorable structural adjustment programs imposed by the International Monetary Fund, relying heavily on food imports, mired in debt, and facing historical inflation rates with unprecedented hikes in food prices. This dire economic situation is made all the worse by a relentless escalation of authoritarian measures in both countries. The prevailing atmosphere indicates that the counterrevolution has prevailed and that avenues of emancipatory possibility have shrunk almost to the point of extinction.
Hundreds of Tunisians marched on the streets of capital Tunis on Sunday, September 25, protesting against the rise in the prices of essential commodities in the country. Sporadic protests broke out in the evening in different parts of the city, as protesters criticized the failure of President Kais Saied’s government to address their economic hardships. The protesters carried loaves of bread and shouted slogans such as “where is sugar?” and “we can’t support crazy price rise!” They demanded improvements in living conditions and “jobs, freedom, and national dignity!” Some protesters, for example those in Mornag on the outskirts of the city, blocked roads and burnt tires in response to claims that one person had committed suicide due to state repression and economic concerns.
On July 25, a national referendum will be held in Tunisia to vote on the draft of a new constitution being presented by President Kais Saied. The move has faced criticism from political players representing workers’ voices in Tunisia, with numerous parties calling for a boycott of the upcoming referendum. Why is the constitution facing such criticism? Fadil Aliriza, founder and editor-in-chief of Meshkal, answers this and more.
Tunisian security forces violently repressed a massive protest in the country’s capital on July 22 against the moves by President Kais Saied to further undermine democratic institutions in the country. According to human rights organizations, police repressed protesters who had gathered at the emblematic Habib Bourguiba Street in the center of Tunis by hitting them with batons and launching tear gas at them. Several people injured during the repression were hospitalized, and police arrested nine people. Among those arrested are feminist rights activist Olfa Baazaoui of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, human rights and LGBTQ+ rights defender Saif Ayedi of Damj, Aziz Ben Jemaa of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, and other progressive activists. Their arrests were widely condemned by diverse civil society organizations.
Journalists in Tunisia will go on a nationwide general strike on April 2 to protest governmental interference in public media and to defend the freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the country. The National Syndicate for Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), Tunisia’s main journalists’ union, announced on Wednesday, March 23, that it has approved a mass strike by journalists. Union official Amira Mohammed cited the “president’s attempts to control public media and the authorities’ insistence on hitting the sector” as the main reason for the strike. The journalists’ union has criticized president Kais Saied and his regime for a number of recent measures which according to them drastically reduced the independence of state media.
How do women and gender equality measures advance in a context of conflict, climate change, high unemployment, low labor force participation, limited democratization and a pandemic? These are challenges facing the Arab region as many citizens, women’s rights organizations, some governments and external partners seek wide-ranging institutional changes and an improved environment for women’s participation and rights. Surveys show public support for some — but not all — proposals for gender equality. Equal inheritance rights for women, for example, remain off the table, even in progressive Tunisia. Family laws that confer most privileges to men and place women under the guardianship of male kin or the spouse are difficult to change.
TUNIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of Tunisians staged the first protests of the Arab world against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince as he arrived on a visit on Tuesday, denouncing him as a murderer involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. People chant slogans and hold banners as they take part in a protest, opposing the visit of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Tunis, Tunisia, November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souiss. The protests were a rare occurrence for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler who faces no overt criticism at home and who received lavish receptions earlier in his tour in visits to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Looking around the world today, it may seem bleak: crackdowns on civil liberties and worker rights are happening everywhere: Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Turkey, the United States and elsewhere. Yet whenever and wherever basic rights are under attack, there always will be people resisting. The question for unions is: Will the labor movement be a part of that resistance—or not? In Tunisia, unions answered with a resounding, “Yes!”
Tunisia has been facing protests across the country at price and tax rises since 3 January – the anniversary of the “bread riots” which occurred in 1984 under the Habib Bourguiba regime. As with the current unrest, that uprising was triggered by an intervention into the country’s affairs by international financial institutions, and the subsequent shock to the livelihoods of Tunisians – specifically, an increase in bread and grain prices following the adoption of an IMF plan. It is impossible to understand these latest protests without understanding the role of international financial institutions, especially the IMF, in imposing austerity on Tunisia since the popular uprising of January 2011. In the months after the revolution, western governments and institutions were looking for a way to prevent countries from questioning the neoliberal model.
TUNIS, TUNISIA — As the new year began, social media and corporate-owned news organizations alike were giving the protests in Iran constant coverage, despite the fact that the protests were relatively small in size and motivated primarily by economics — not politics, as many popular news outlets had claimed. Not surprisingly, these same organizations failed to mention the role of sanctions backed by the West in fomenting the economic troubles facing Iranians. Soon after — despite U.S. encouragement and financial backing, as well as the key role of the U.S.-trained, Iran-based terrorist group MEK, in fomenting the unrest — the protests in Iran fizzled. It was difficult to know this if one relied exclusively upon corporate media reports, which claimed that the protests were growing by the minute...
Tunisia has erupted over the past three days in demonstrations and violent clashes with security forces. Workers and youth have taken to the streets in at least 18 different towns in protest against a 2018 austerity budget that will only exacerbate prevailing conditions of mass unemployment, poverty and social inequality in the North African nation. The Interior Ministry acknowledged that a 55-year-old man was killed during a protest on Monday in the town of Tebourba, about 20 miles outside of the capital of Tunis, and five other people there were wounded. There were conflicting reports over the cause of death, with some protesters saying the man had been run down by a police vehicle, while the authorities claimed he had been overcome by tear gas. In a number of areas, the army has been called out to back up local security forces and protect government buildings and banks.
By Hamza Hamouchene for ROAR Magazine - Kerkennah is a group of islands lying off the east coast of Tunisia in the Gulf of Gabès, around 20km away from the mainland city of Sfax. The two main islands are Chergui and Gharbi. When approaching the islands by ferry, one is struck by a curious sight: the coastal waters are divided into countless parcels, separated from one another by thousands of palm tree leaves. This is what Kerkennis call charfia, a centuries-old fishing method ingeniously designed to lure fish into a capture chamber from where they can be easily recovered.