News / Middle East

Tunisian Opposition Rallies Against Ruling Islamists

Anti-government protesters wave Tunisian flags as they rally for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government in Sfax, southeast of Tunis, Sep. 26, 2013.
Anti-government protesters wave Tunisian flags as they rally for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government in Sfax, southeast of Tunis, Sep. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Thousands protested in cities across Tunisia on Thursday to call on the ruling Islamist Ennahda party to step down immediately to make way for new elections to end a stalemate with its secular opponents.
 
The North African nation that started the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolts has been caught in political deadlock since July after the assassination of an opposition leader.
 
Waving national flags and chanting “Leave Now”, protesters took to the streets of six cities to demand the resignation a government critics fear wants impose a hardline Islamist agenda.
 
“The Islamists should understand this message, they should leave soon. We're ready to stay in the streets until they are gone,” said Rafahia Loumi, taking part in a rally in Sfax, 170 miles (270 km) southeast of Tunis.
 
After the fall of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia's transition has been relatively peaceful compared with the ouster of an elected Islamist president by Egypt's army and the Libyan government's struggle with rival militias.
 
But the growing influence of Islamists, especially hardline conservatives calling for an Islamist state, has riled many in what has long been considered one of the most secular countries in the Muslim world, with strong ties to Europe.
 
Ennahda, itself split between moderates and hardliners, has governed in an alliance with two small secular parties and tried to appease worries it is not trying hard enough to control violent Islamist militants.
 
But the killing of a second opposition leader in six months by suspected Islamist gunmen sparked outrage and calls for the government's resignation.
 
After weeks of political wrangling, Tunisia's powerful UGTT union has come up with a proposal for the government to resign but only after three weeks of talks to decide on a date for elections and the composition of a caretaker administration.
 
Ennahda this week appeared to back away from that proposal, however, calling for more guarantees the new constitution will be finished and an election timetable be set before it agrees to make way for a transition administration.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid