News / Middle East

Tunisia Braces for Protests Over French Cartoons

Outside view of the French embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, September 19, 2012.Outside view of the French embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, September 19, 2012.
x
Outside view of the French embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, September 19, 2012.
Outside view of the French embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, September 19, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
— A week after Muslims worldwide vented their anger at an anti-Islam film made in the United States, authorities in Tunisia are bracing for more unrest this Friday - this time because of French cartoons making fun of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Right now it's a typical weekday afternoon in downtown Tunis. The main Habib Bourguiba Avenue is choked with traffic and pedestrians. One thing that is different, however, are the barbed wire and police flanking France's elegant embassy.

The extra security comes ahead of Friday prayers - and a day after a French magazine published cartoons mocking the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Tunisian authorities clearly don't want a repeat of last Friday, when violent demonstrations by Salafists outside the U.S. embassy here killed four Tunisians and injured dozens of others.  

Anti-U.S. Protests Timeline:

  • September 11: Protesters attack U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt and U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americas are killed
  • September 12: Anti-U.S. protests spread to several Arab countries.
  • September 13: Protesters storm U.S. embassy compound in Sana'a, Yemen
  • September 14: Protests spread further across Africa, Asia and the Middle East
  • September 15: US orders non-essential personnel and families of diplomats out of Tunisia and Sudan
  • September 16: A protester dies during a clash with police in Pakistan
  • September 17: A protester dies during a clash with police in Pakistan
Pausing before the French embassy, Tunisian businessman Hamdi Ashouri criticizes the violence.

But Ashouri said that Muslims respect other religions and they would never mock them. He said he will join any peaceful protests against the French cartoons on Friday.

Like Ashouri, bank employee Jihen Saber is worried about more violence to come. She said there's no security in Tunisia, that it is still recovering from its 2011 revolution. That makes her scared.

Last week's protests against the video, made by a private filmmaker in the U.S., were echoed across the Arab world. They are particularly striking in this North African country, though, where the regime of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali jailed Islamists.

Today, Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party is trying to calm the situation - criticizing both the movie and the protesters.

Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi said he was shocked at the violence of last week's demonstrators who destroyed American embassy cars, set fire to an American school and attacked businesses. He said protesters have the right to express their views, but must do so peacefully.

About 30,000 French nationals live in Tunisia. Ahead of Friday prayers, France has announced it will close its embassies and schools in some 20 countries, including Tunisia.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 21, 2012 1:34 PM
These protests should continue on daily basis. The liberal president was removed with the support of the West to usher in the mad Arab Spring. We are getting what we want from the Arab Spring - extremism! The west have no excuse here. The west should understand that no matter how much you bath a pig and dress it in fine linen clothes, it must return to the sludge. You cannot bring uniform democracy to all countries of the world. Arab Spring was not because of length of tenure, Never! The longest serving potentates also practiced democracy being govt of the people by the people for the people. They practiced democratic principles. But what do we get from their successors of the Arab Spring? A unified force to fight western civilization. Whether you like it or not, all of them are behind Tehran's nuclear program. By the time it's been accomplished..., only God can predict what the next step will be.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid