Tunisian youth fight back


Michael Elms

Since the start of 2018 demonstrators have taken to the streets in Tunisia, protesting against the rising cost of living. The army was deployed following the death of a protestor, Khomsi el-Yerfeni, in Tebourba on 9 January.

When mass protests in Tunisia, led by the labour movement and the UGTT trade union federation, toppled the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2011, the work of dismantling the neo-liberal order he had built was only beginning.

Tunisia's unemployed rise against poverty


Dan Katz

Tunisia has been rocked by a series of major demonstrations by unemployed workers.

Protests began in the interior town of Kasserine following the death of 28 year-old Rida Yahyaoui. He was electrocuted after climbing a transmission tower in a protest after he failed to get a government job. Action spread through the heartlands of Gafsa and Sidi Bouzid and on to the capital, Tunis, and other coastal cities.

How to fight Daesh



The killing of at least 39 people by a gunman in Sousse, Tunisia, along with the destruction of a Shia mosque in Kuwait, on Friday 26 June, may signal a shift in strategy for Daesh (ISIS).

Until now, their declared aim was the establishment of a caliphate in Iraq-Syria. This latest development could be the start of a new global jihad. The targeting of tourists is a move away from the targeting of religious minorities and non Sunni Muslims.

“Morbid symptoms” in Tunisia


Edward Maltby

The Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci once described the disarray in Europe after World War One in this way, “the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”.

Tunisian unions fight Islamist violence

The 600,000-strong Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) organised a general strike on Friday 26 July in response to the murder of a secular politician, Mohamed Brahmi, a leader of the Popular Movement.

The strike brought Tunis, the capital, to a standstill, as flights were cancelled, trains stopped running and most shops were shut.

The following day police fired teargas on thousands of demonstrators protesting outside the parliament.

Who are FEMEN?

When Tunisian feminist Amina Tyler posted topless pictures of herself online with “Fuck Your Morals” and “My body belongs to me and is not a source of anyone’s honour” written across her chest, she received death threats and was put in a psychiatric hospital.

“Topless Jihad Day” was the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN’s response.

In various cities, topless activists’ slogans were “Free Amina”, “Fuck Your Morals”, “Bare Breasts Against Islamism” and “Viva Topless Jihad”. A few FEMEN supporters also wore fake beards to dress as stereotypes of Arab men.

Clerical fascism?

Critics of Solidarity sometimes say that our description of Islamist political movements as “clerical fascism” is too simplistic, or too sweeping.

A recent report from Tunisia (Financial Times, 18 February) makes us think we are right after all. Ennahda, which currently leads a coalition government there with two smaller secular parties, is always described as “moderate” Islamist.

Tunisia: shaking the Islamists

Mobilisation since the murder on 6 February of a left-wing politician, Chokri Belaïd, has shaken the Islamist government in Tunisia.

Prime minister Hamadi Jebali has called on all ministers to resign so that he can replace the current administration — a coalition of his Islamist party, Ennahda, with two smaller secular parties — by a “government of technocrats” to run until parliamentary elections in mid-July.

The threat from the Islamists in Tunisia

Ahlem Belhadj, a doctor and a member of the UGTT trade union, is best known as the president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women. Ahlem has also been a Trotskyist for many years, and is currently a member of the Left Workers’ League (LGO).

Against Ennhada [the Islamist party currently ruling Tunisia], what about those who propose a broad front ranging from the left to the supporters of the old regime?

Several problems are posed by Ennahda. There are those concerning democracy and freedom, and also the social and economic problems, which are fundamental.

Tunisian Islamists attack artists

In June Salafists — hard-line Islamists — attacked a Tunis art gallery, sparking riots that left one person dead and more than 100 injured.

During the riots trade union buildings, courts and police stations were also attacked.

The government then banned Islamist marches apparently organised by the groups Hizb ut-Tahrir and Ansar al-Shariah.

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