Tunisian activists say they will keep pressure on president
TUNIS, Aug.6 (Reuters) – Sitting on her rooftop in Tunis, political activist Fatma Jgham said she and her comrades supported the Tunisian president’s takeover but would keep the pressure on him if their demands were not satisfied.
“We must hold a referendum on the constitution, and the demands of the people must not be overturned … neither by you (the president) nor by anyone else,” said Jgham, an art teacher from 48 years old.
She was one of the people who staged the wave of protests across Tunisian cities on July 25 that were cited by President Kais Saied later in the day as he sacked the prime minister and froze parliament. His opponents have called these movements a coup.
Saied’s actions proved to be mostly popular, with thousands of people flocking to the streets immediately after to celebrate, but he gave no details on how he plans to deal with the crisis or the future of. Tunisia.
The protests represented a wave of anger that had built up over years of economic stagnation and political dysfunction, accentuated by a wave of COVID-19.
Although the protests were not very large, with hundreds rather than thousands of people braving the sweltering weather in each of the few towns where they took place, they also involved several attacks on the offices of a major party. Politics.
Moderate Islamist Ennahda, the most consistently successful party since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy, has played a role in successive coalition governments and is blamed by many Tunisians for their economic woes.
“The demands were the overthrow of the entire failing system of government, in particular the parliament, led by gangs of the Ennahda party and its coalitions,” Jgham said.
Some Ennahda officials have questioned whether the attacks on their offices were planned by Saied supporters as a pretext for his sudden intervention.
Jgham denies this. “People were angry and marginalized. It was not planned but it was spontaneous,” she said.
The protests that day had not been supported by political parties but were organized by activists like Jgham on social media, she said.
Women activists, like Jgham, have played prominent roles everywhere, reflecting Tunisia’s reputation as a leading center for women’s rights in the Arab states.
Another activist, Emna Sahli, says the role of women in protests has fundamentally changed. They are no longer run by men, she said.
“Today the people with ideas are women and that’s really great,” said the 35-year-old, who also took part in the July 25 protests.
Written by Nadeen Ebrahim and Angus McDowall; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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