The second Arab Spring: Tunisians back on the streets

Published February 24th, 2013 - 05:00 GMT
A Tunisian protester holds a placard featuring killed opposition leader Chokri Belaid during a demonstration on Saturday. (AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID)
A Tunisian protester holds a placard featuring killed opposition leader Chokri Belaid during a demonstration on Saturday. (AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID)

Thousands of Tunisians took to the streets in the capital on Saturday as they denounced the new prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh, a hardliner from the main Islamist Ennahda party.

President Moncef Marzouki asked Larayedh to form a government on Friday after outgoing Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned on Tuesday.

This was due to Ennahda, who rejected his plan for a political technocratic cabinet that would set the platform and prepare for elections.

Larayedh, the new premier-designate, is contentious because opposition secularists accuse the Interior Ministry, which he headed, of failing to curb Islamist violence.

About 3,000 secularists flocked to the main street in Tunis raising banners which slammed the Ennahda party and its new representative Larayedh.

Demonstrators chanted “Larayedh out” and “The people want to bring down the regime”. A similar call to the one which kicked started the country’s ‘Jasmine Revolution’.

Tunisia plunged into political crisis after the death of the secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid this year. It ignited the largest street protests since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

Larayedh, 57, is viewed as part of Ennahda’s hardline wing, which rejects any role for parties linked to the Ben Ali era.

A maritime engineer, Larayedh spent 15 years in jail under Ben Ali.


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