dimanche 13 novembre 2011

Occupy Wall Street movement seen for the 1st time in Tunisia

The international movement Occupy Wall Street first appeared in Tunisia on Friday. Approximately 200 protestors gathered in downtown Tunis at La Place des Droits de l’Homme carrying anti-globalisation signs and making speeches on anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism. The event was organised in line with the Occupy the World 11/11/11 (November 11 2011) day that had been announced on social networks in Tunisia.

Participants in the demonstration were mostly young adults coming from different regions of the country. Though many were affiliated with communist or moderate leftist parties, a good number said they were independent. For a portion of the day, protesters stopped their speeches and allowed artists to play music and sing songs about liberty.

Worth noting, many protesters were speaking out against imperialism and not necessarily against the capitalist system as is the case with most Occupy Wall Street movements around the world. This slightly different angle shows the concerns that certain citizens have about occidental countries implicating themselves too much in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

The protestor’s demands

There were many police at the demonstration.
One of the main demands expressed by the protestors concerns the national debt, a popular subject of debate between candidates of different parties during the electoral campaign. While some of them simply want the debt to be completely erased, others are suggesting a thorough audit and a plan for reimbursing part of it while excluding sums related to personal expenses incurred by friends and family members of the ex-dictator.

Unlike other protestors around the world, participants in Friday’s demonstration did not set up camp sites. Towards the end of the day, they peacefully left. There was only one violent incident when an isolated group of protestors got into an altercation with police officers. It didn’t last long and fortunately no one was hurt.

You can see the protestors on this video (images of the demonstration start at 1:00 – The video is in French) :

Meanwhile in the United States, a couple of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations recently had major problems. One person was found dead in a tent in Salt Lake City and shootings took place in Vermont  and Oakland.

In Canada, Occupy groups are confronted by municipal authorities as they try to ready themselves for the rigours of winter. In Montreal, protestors were prevented from building wooden shacks.

Souad Abderrahim, Ennahda’s star candidate, didn’t wait in line to vote

Souad Abderrahim, elected in the Tunis 2 riding for the
Islamic party Ennahda, passed in front of the waiting line
to go vote on Election Day last October 23rd.
More news on social networks concerning Souad Adberrahim, Ennahda’s non-veiled member of Parliament who’s been implicated in controversy over the last days. A video has been circulating on Facebook showing Ms. Abderrahim walking by the line-up, trying to cut in to go vote on Election Day last October 23rd

As she got to the polling station, a local mayor vigorously told her to get back in line with the other citizens. Ignoring him, she once again tried to step in front of people before being advised a second time by members of the personnel to wait her turn. In spite of that, Ms. Adberrahim stayed in front of the line up with an Ennahda militant seemingly oblivious to those around her. Here is a video of her cutting in (the sequence starts at 1:00) :

This contrasts with the leaders of progressive parties such as Moustapha Ben Jaafar (Ettakatol), Moncef Marzouki (Congrès pour la République – CPR) and Ahmed Najib Chebbi (Parti démocrate progressiste – PDP) who were photographed while waiting in line to vote.

As for the leader of Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, after trying to go by people waiting in line (article in French) he grudgingly went to the back of the line-up when frustrated citizens told him to do so.

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