Wednesday, 19 January 2011
UPDATE ON TUNISIA: MASSES OPPOSE OLD REGIME DREGS
Facebook: Support Tunisia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 JANUARY 2011
· Unity Government Shakes as People take to the Streets
· Interior Minister Lectures Nation on “Lack of Respect for Authority”
· Major opposition parties issue statements rejecting Unity Government
· Protest Outside Tunisian Embassy in London at 5pm today (19th January) to call for RCD to be dropped from Unity Government
As 4 opposition ministers announced their resignation from the Unity Government, protesters once again took to the streets to express their rejection of any RCD involvement in the interim government. Protesters shouted “RCD, Out Out!” and were greeted by tear gas, water cannons and even live ammunition fired into the air to scare them away.
Meanwhile, the unofficial opposition movements which had been excluded from the government, and which are said to be more credible due to their non-involvement with the previous regime, put forth their demands for new trasitional arrangements.
The Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party said, “All forces which played an effective and crucial role in toppling the dictator, whether political, trade unionist, human rights, or cultural, whether organized or otherwise, are, alongside the masses, to be involved in drawing Tunisia’s future and cannot be represented by any other figure or body in any negotiations or communications with the government.”
The Islamic An-Nahdha Party called for “a Constitutional Council which represents all political tendencies and civil society institutions such as trade unions, the Association of Lawyers, and representative bodies of unemployed graduates who played an important role in the revolution, with the aim of building a democratic constitution for a parliamentary system that distributes and de-centralises power on the widest scale possible and puts an end to the corrupt era of one party and its pharaonic leader.”
Meanwhile, the Congress for the Republic considered the current direction of the government to be “an attempt to abort the revolution and return to the very same old state on the basis of the laws and constitution of dictatorship, and to take us back to the same state, but with a new façade. The acceptance of this government is tantamount to placing the country once again under the hegemony of the party of corruption and repression, the RCD, while among the principal slogans of the revolution was “Down with the RCD, down with the torturer of the people”. The achievements of the revolution will not be complete until this party is dissolved and its properties nationalized.”
Interior Minister Berates Nation
The Interior Minister's first speech on Monday raised alarm bells and provoked the anger of many Tunisians, who watched the speech with incredulity. The Minister, a member of the ruling RCD, and whose ministry is known among Tunisian as the headquarters for torture and repression expressed no strong clear condemnation of the old era's systematic use of torture, murder, rape and various human rights violations. Instead, he justified the repression of the protests, claiming protesters were 'allowed to protest freely for hours in front of the ministry.
In a patronising tone, he advised Tunisians "not to believe everything they hear" clearly alluding to the internet and social media which were crucial for the protest movement. Moreover, he told the nation “there is no longer any respect for authority…a pupil cannot ask to change his teacher”, appearing to belittle demands for political participation and democracy.
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Notes to Editors:
Support Tunisia is an association set up by concerned individuals seeking to highlight events in Tunisia and call for the rights and dignity of the Tunisian people to be respected.
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