Tunisia: Protests mark Ben Ali exile anniversary


A person caped in the Tunisian flag walks past a statue representing the cart of Mohamed Al Bouazizi, the fruit vendor whose self-immolation sparked the revolution that ousted a dictator and ignited the Arab Spring, on Dec. 17, 2011 in Sidi Bouzid. Thousands of Tunisians rallied in celebration of the first anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled their long-standing dictator and unleashed the Arab Spring revolutions.


Fethi Belaid

Over 7,000 Tunisians poured into the streets of the capital today to protest the country's young government on the two-year anniversary of the ousting of longtime leader President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, reported Bloomberg

Ben Ali's overthrow started a chain reaction throughout the region, dubbed the Arab Spring, but today's massive demonstrations signal widespread dissatisfaction with Tunisia's replacement rulers.

Activists have accused the authorities of trying to impose Muslim values on society, charges government officials have denied. Meanwhile, political wrangling over a new constitution has been going on for months, and Tunisians appear to be fed up. Over 7,000 of them gathered in front of the Interior Ministry today, many of them calling for the resignation of the ruling Ennahda Party, said Bloomberg.

The rally was held in the exact same place where protests forced Ben Ali from power on January 14, 2011, said Reuters, going on to describe the mood: 

They filled the capital's central boulevard on Monday carrying banners that read "No fear, no horror, power belongs to the people" and "No to emerging dictatorship. No to religious dictatorship".

Waving red and white Tunisian flags, they chanted: ""Ennahda out" and "Where is the constitution? Where is democracy?"

Ben Ali is in hiding in Saudi Arabia. 

Tunisia's new president, Munsif Al Marzouqi, is expected to lead revolutionary celebration events in the capital city's Kasbah Square later tonight, according to Agence-France Press