Unrest in Tunisia


Feb 21 2011

Unrest in Tunisia

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In December of 2010 an uprising began in Tunisia, which led to the president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country. This revolution ended his 23-year rule and inspired other Arab countries to protest as well. Now two months later, the former president is sick in the hospital after suffering from a stroke. The Tunisian people want answers and are asking about Ben-Ali’s condition and whether or not he is even still alive. Reported by the Associated Press, if he is still alive, Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry asked “Saudi Arabia to extradite Ben Ali following ‘new charges against the ousted president for his implications in severe crimes.'” These crimes include incitement to murder and also reports of security forces raping women and torturing people during the period of unrest.

Now that the Ben Ali is no longer in charge, interim Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi is taking the reigns. Ghannouchi says he will only stay in power until he can get Tunisia to democracy. But the people are not happy with this because of his apparent ties to Ben-Ali’s government. As reported in the New York Times, “one of the largest demonstrations since Mr. Ben Ali fled took place on Sunday in Tunis, where several thousand protesters marched to the prime minister’s office to demand the caretaker government’s resignation.” The people ousted Ben Ali so they could finally get away from the authoritarian rule and yet with Ghannouchi in charge, the Tunisians feel as though nothing has changed. They want to create their own government, which leads the another issue in Tunisia.

With just an interim government in place, the Tunisians are trying to agree upon a government to rule the people. Tensions are growing because it is not clear whether Islamism is going to be integrated into the new government. Competing groups are protesting for their cause daily, which is continuing the unrest in Tunisia. As the New York Times States, “About 98 percent of the population of 10 million is Muslim, but Tunisia’s liberal social policies and Western lifestyle shatter stereotypes of the Arab world. Abortion is legal, polygamy is banned and women commonly wear bikinis on the country’s Mediterranean beaches. Wine is openly sold in supermarkets and imbibed at bars across the country.” With this being said, many Tunisians are protesting that religion would ruin their new government.

As seen above, many things have to be resolved in Tunisia to reach their goal of having a democratic state. If the peoples’ needs are not met, uprisings and protests are going to continue.

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