See also:
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 27.02.2011 - 84-year-old is new PM in Tunisia
» 27.02.2011 - Tunisia PM Ghannouchi resigns
» 23.02.2011 - Exodus from Libya; foreigners targeted
» 05.02.2011 - Tunisia govt improves rights situation
» 01.02.2011 - Tunisia freedoms still not secured
» 31.01.2011 - EU freezes Tunisia dictator's assets
» 28.01.2011 - New Tunisia govt mostly applauded

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Politics | Human rights

Tunisia police attacks large protest march

Tunisian protesters demanding the old RCD regime to step down

© Wassim Ben Rhouma/Flickr/afrol News
afrol News, 26 February
- Violent clashes between an ever-growing protest movement and riot police broke out again today. Tunisian journalists meanwhile support the protesters, saying they are still censored.

The Tunisian revolution is not over yet, a growing part of the population holds. Government and transitional authorities still are dominated by the old ruling RCD party and there is a growing feeling that the ancién regime is trying to prepare for its comeback after the July elections.

Protests never really stopped in Tunisia, but the majority wanted to give Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi - who also held that position during the Ben Ali regime that was ousted on 14 January - a chance to prepare the country for elections and restart economic activities.

After a few weeks, some important reforms were indeed made. The formerly repressive Interior Ministry fired most police chiefs responsible for violent confrontations with protesters. By mid-February, only a small group kept calling for Prime Minister Ghannouchi and his RCD colleagues to step down.

But the protest movement has grown again, with the opposition saying it is not heard by the RCD dominated interim government. Dissident Mounir Ben Aicha is among those claiming that the former RCD regime is planning for its comeback, documenting that all key reform processes - including the writing of a new constitution and electoral code - are controlled by figures from the old regime.

Most newly formed parties are not being legalised by Tunis authorities, which demand they accept the legitimacy of the non-elected Ghannouchi governme

Tunisia's Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi

© Gouv Tunisienne/afrol News
nt. The groups behind the January Jasmine Revolution are not consulted in the reform process during this key transitional period.

Not even Tunisian media are experiencing the new supposed liberty. State news agency 'TAP' still is government's mouthpiece; as is Tunisia's state-run television broadcaster. Today, hundreds of journalists at the state broadcaster however had enough, called for a strike and joined the protests, citing continued censorship.

Consequently, the protest marches have grown in size in Tunis during the last weeks. Today, they organised the greatest protest since the 14 January revolution, with thousands demanding the old RCD regime to resign.

For the first time in weeks, the protesters were again met with police violence. Uniformed riot police shot in the air and fired teargas at the protesters in downtown Tunis Habib Bourguiba Avenue. But also plain-cloth government agents attacked the protesters with sticks and batons.

Bowing into the violence, the protesting crowds dispersed.

Meanwhile, 'TAP' and the remaining journalists at the state broadcaster reported of youths committed to "looting and sabotage" that

Both state-controlled media warned people against going to Habib Bourguiba Avenue, which had been closed by police. They aired an Interior Ministry call "for parents to urge their children to refrain from participating in the riots and vandalism."

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