Tunisia: A second political assassination, strikes and calls for the dissolution of the national assembly

Isabelle Merminod and Tim Baster report on the latest events in Tunisia

July 30, 2013
3 min read

tunisia1Photo: Tim Baster

The UGTT, Tunisia’s largest trade union went on general strike on Friday to protest at the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, a deputy in the National Constituent Assembly. The national newspaper ‘La Presse de Tunisie’ reported demonstrations in most large cities; one demonstrator died.

Brahmi was the leader of his party, the Movement of the People, up until July, when he split from it to form another party. Movement of the People is affiliated to the Popular Front, the left wing coalition which opposes the religious Ennahda government.

On the same day, interior minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said in a press conference that Brahmi was hit by 14 bullets in front of his home the previous day. The weapon was the same used in the assassination of Chokri Belaid, another left winger murdered on 6 February. The minister accused a Salafist group of the crime. No arrests have been made for either assassination.

Demonstrators accuse the Ennahda government of assassination

But demonstrators did not accept the minister’s version of events. At the National Constituent Assembly building, a crowd gathered shouting: ‘Civil disobedience’ and ‘Assassin Ghannouchi’ (the political leader of Ennahda).

One demonstrator explained their demands: ‘resignation of the National Constituent Assembly, an end to manipulation, and a government of national safety.’ These are similar to the demands of the Popular Front and those of the Tunisian ‘Tamarod’ (rebellion) movement, which takes its name from the Egyptian movement that preceded the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi by the army on 3 July.

tunisia2Photo: Tim Baster

On Saturday a large crowd accompanied the body of Mohamed Brahmi to the Jellaz cemetery where only five months before Tunisians had buried another Popular Front leader, Chokri Belaid. The crowd chanted: ‘After the bloodbath this government has no more legitimacy.’

Later, in front of the National Assembly building, pro-Ennahda demonstrators fought with demonstrators from the Popular Front.

The demands of the revolution are not being met

Tunisia’s religious Ennadha government is a provisional one elected in October 2011 with a timetable to deliver a new constitution and fresh elections by the end of 2012. The constitution is still in draft and the elections have not been held.

Tunisian youth and poor communities are facing the same enormous economic and social difficulties they faced prior to the revolution, but the government appears unwilling to deliver the social and economic demands of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution. At the same time, it is accused of stalling the political process to entrench itself in power before any elections.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.
Share this article  
  share on facebook     share on twitter  

Jeremy Corbyn is no longer the leader of the opposition – he has become the People’s Prime Minister
While Theresa May hides away, Corbyn stands with the people in our hours of need, writes Tom Walker

In the aftermath of this disaster, we must fight to restore respect and democracy for council tenants
Glyn Robbins says it's time to put residents, not private firms, back at the centre of decision-making over their housing

After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections
Under cover of 'cutting red tape', the government has been slashing safety standards. It's time for it to stop, writes Christine Berry

Why the Grenfell Tower fire means everything must change
The fire was a man-made atrocity, says Faiza Shaheen – we must redesign our economic system so it can never happen again

Forcing MPs to take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy undermines democracy
As long as being an MP means pledging loyalty to an unelected head of state, our parliamentary system will remain undemocratic, writes Kate Flood

7 reasons why Labour can win the next election
From the rise of Grime for Corbyn to the reduced power of the tabloids, Will Murray looks at the reasons to be optimistic for Labour's chances next time

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 25 June
On June 25th, the fourth of Red Pepper Race Section's Open Editorial Meetings will celebrate the launch of our new black writers' issue - Empire Will Eat Itself.

After two years of attacks on Corbyn supporters, where are the apologies?
In the aftermath of this spectacular election result, some issues in the Labour Party need addressing, argues Seema Chandwani

If Corbyn’s Labour wins, it will be Attlee v Churchill all over again
Jack Witek argues that a Labour victory is no longer unthinkable – and it would mean the biggest shake-up since 1945

On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist
Hilary Wainwright pays tribute to the life and legacy of Robin Murray, one of the key figures of the New Left whose vision of a modern socialism lies at the heart of the Labour manifesto.

Letter from the US: Dear rest of the world, I’m just as confused as you are
Kate Harveston apologises for the rise of Trump, but promises to make it up to us somehow

The myth of ‘stability’ with Theresa May
Settit Beyene looks at the truth behind the prime minister's favourite soundbite

Civic strike paralyses Colombia’s principle pacific port
An alliance of community organisations are fighting ’to live with dignity’ in the face of military repression. Patrick Kane and Seb Ordoñez report.

Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports

On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.

Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns

Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for a political organiser
Closing date for applications: postponed, see below

The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections

In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines

Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.

West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective

How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences

The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally

Event: Take Back Control Croydon
Ken Loach, Dawn Foster & Soweto Kinch to speak in Croydon at the first event of a UK-wide series organised by The World Transformed and local activists

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change

Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself


4