Tunisians is marking the second anniversary of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s flight into exile in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings but insecurity and social tensions persist.
A deadlock over a new constitution and the growing influence of radical Islamists are further challenges facing the nation since Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia.
President Moncef Marzouki will kick off the celebrations at 07:00 am GMT by hoisting the national flag over Kasbah Square in Tunis, near the headquarters of the ruling coalition led by the Islamist Ennahda party.
Later the government will seal a “social pact” with trade union leaders and business executives at the National Constituent Assembly, in a bid to boost a sluggish economy.
Frustration at the government’s failure to address poverty and rising unemployment has mounted since the revolution, with the country rocked by repeated protests, some of them deadly.
On Sunday, the army deployed in the southern border town of Ben Guerdane after a week of clashes between police and residents demanding development projects to revive the area’s local economy and reduce unemployment.
A festive mood nevertheless swept over Tunis where street concerts and cultural events were held throughout the weekend along central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, cradle of the 2010-2011 revolution.
Supporters and opponents of the government were planning to march side by side on Monday to mark the anniversary.
“In a few hours we will know if all these different factions of Tunisians can co-exist… It is a real test of democracy that will take place tomorrow in the heart of the capital,” Le Quotidien newspaper said on Sunday. READ MORE…
“Revolution Through Arab Eyes – Tunisia: The Revolt Continues,” by Fatma Riahi, published in Al Jazeera one year ago, relays sentiments among Tunisians in the capital post-revolution.
image credit: Fethi Belaid/AFP
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