Monday, January 13, 2014

Tunis Marks Three Years

Tomorrow will be the third anniversary of the revolution which toppled Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, kicking off the Arab Spring.  One conspicuous result of that wave has been the intensification of Arab culture wars over the proper role for religion in public life.  These divisions might be on display in the fact different Tunisian political movements are planning their own commemorations:
In Tunis, the capital, this event will be commemorated by a number of events and demonstrations taking place on Bourguiba Avenue in downtown Tunis. This main street was the setting for the mass protests in January 2011 that led to the departure of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14.
The Ennahda party called on “all Tunisians” to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. The party will hold a rally on Bourguiba Avenue to commemorate the day.
The Nidaa Tounes opposition party will hold a public meeting 10 a.m. Tuesday with its leader Beji Caid Essebsi at the Palais de Congres on Mohamed V Avenue in Tunis. Party members will then march to the clock tower on January 14 Square and on to Habib Bourguiba Avenue.
The UGTT labor union has called for its members to meet at 10 a.m. at Mohamed Hami Square in Tunis.
I say "might be" because the article doesn't give a clear sense of what will be said at these different events and what the relative attendance might be like.  However, I suspect we will see competing claims to the revolution's legacy, with plenty of citizens making a statement of political identity in their choice of where to celebrate and when.



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