Secular Women Rally In Tunisia
14 August, 2013
Around 40,000 secularists rallied in Tunis on August 13, 2013 to call for the departure of the Islamist-led ruling coalition.
The rally was organized to celebrate Tunisia’s Women’s Day marking the 57th anniversary of the Code of Personal Status, the country’s cornerstone women’s rights legislation. This legislation, enacted by Habib Bourguiba, was most advanced in the Arab world. Now, the Islamists are trying to cut it down.
The Islamists also organized a women’s demonstration in Tunis, the capital city.
Media reports from Tunisia said:
Amidst a severe economic downturn, a suspension of parliament and a surge in Muslim militant attacks, Tunisia's government, led by the Islamist party Ennahda, is grappling with secularists' calls for its resignation.
"Go, Go Ennahda ... the people want to bring down the regime," chanted the crowd of mainly female secularist protesters, in one of the largest opposition protests to be held in front of parliament in Bardo Square. "Tunisian women today are telling the Islamists 'Get out, we want a modern government'," said a protester named Sonia.
The secularists’ march was flooded with flags and images of assassinated opposition politicians Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid.
The march moved slowly towards the National Constituent Assembly building in Bardo along a crowded street. Chants include “The Tunisian woman is not Ennahdhawi,” an adjective coming from Ennahdha.
As the secularists’ march started from Bab Saadoun, crowds grew quickly. They called for the fall of Ennahdha.
A few kilometers away, several thousand Islamists had a rally. The Islamists marched to put on a show of support for Ennahda.
A speaker at the Ennahdha rally, Fadhila Snoussi, a spokesperson for the National League for the Tunisian Family, has said “The Tunisian woman became free only after the revolution.”
Islamists’ support drops
Citing a Gallup poll result a report by UPI on August 13, 2013 said:
Confidence in Tunisia's Islamist-led government has dropped from 56 percent in March 2012 to 32 percent in May.
The polling by the Gallup organization revealed an even bigger drop in approval of the country's leadership during the same period. It went from 60 percent in 2012 to 23 percent in May 2013.
Fifty-nine percent of Tunisians polled by Gallup reported they are living comfortably while 41 percent indicated they are having difficulty just getting by.
Gallup said it found a link between the current political crisis and Tunisia's deteriorating labor market.
Seventy-one percent of Tunisians reported it was a bad time to find a job locally.
Gallup's polling of 1,053 adult Tunisians was conducted May 20-30 by face-to-face interviews. The poll carried a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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