Asharq al Awsat – Jan. 7

Tunis Gov’t Finds it Difficult to Face Sit-ins


The new Tunisian government took office 10 days ago, but is facing a lot of difficulties in managing a heavy legacy of social and economic demands across the country.


Social demands are often supported by political groups that defend public and individual freedoms.


Sit-in is one way to express social and economic demands. But the Interior Ministry finds it difficult to stand in between the freedoms and meeting such demands.


Some parties say one of the solutions is to have a truce of 6 months at least.


Elected President, Moncef Marzouki, supports such a truce, but it got no positive reaction from protesters and strikers in public and private companies.


The government is confused toward these files. It always seeks to show self-restraint and avoid using force because several parties are watching al Nahda to see in what way it will deal with such protests.


Nahda accuses leftist and union sides of obstructing its programs and projects by encouraging such protests. But Nahda has not taken any action toward protesters until now and still discussing all available options and from time to time it urges Tunisians to respect the laws and the higher interests of the country.


Abdel Hamid al Garay, chief of the National Security, said: “Security situation faces a lot of difficulties. If the security body interfered in all areas to end the protests and sit-ins, there must be blames that some security elements used excessive force and this would open the door for confrontation between protesters and security again.”


“We asked the elected president to provide legal protection for the security forces over their interferences,” he said in remarks to the daily.


The security body suggested that the General Prosecution should accompany the security forces during their interferences to end the protests and sit-ins and should document what’s going on and what each party is doing in order to have evidences for everything, said al Garay.


Marzuoki seems to be happy with that idea and might implement it, he noted.