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'No coups, yes to elections!': Massive pro-govt rally held in Tunis (PHOTOS)

Published time: August 04, 2013 07:56
Edited time: August 04, 2013 08:44
Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement wave flags as they chant slogans during a demonstration at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement wave flags as they chant slogans during a demonstration at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Thousands of Tunisians flooded the capital in support of their Islamist-led government amid calls for its ouster. Members of the secular opposition have alleged the ruling Ennahda party orchestrated the murder of a prominent leftist politician.

Over 150,000 people flocked to Tunis’ central Kasbah Square, brandishing Tunisian flags and shouting pro-government slogans.

The throng chanted “No to coups, yes to elections!” referencing the untimely ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 by the army.

Tunisian supporters of ruling Islamist Ennahdha party chant slogans on August 3, 2013 in Tunis in solidarity with the government. (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid)

Tunisia’s secular opposition has also planned mass protests this weekend, calling for the disbandment of the government. Prime Minister Ali Larayedh has resolved not to step down and has called on the protesters for calm.

"Tunisia is in need of national unity. I call for calm so that the army and security forces can combat terrorism and not waste its efforts on protests,” said Larayedh.

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement light flares and wave flags during a rally at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Larayedh held talks with senior politicians on Saturday in a bid to help resolve the growing social unrest that followed the murder of prominent left-wing politician Mohamed Brahmi a week ago. However, the talks failed to produce any tangible result as members of the opposition refused to attend.

Brahmi’s family and members of the Tunisian opposition have alleged Ennahda’s complicity in his murder.

The politician was gunned down outside his house over a week ago by two men riding a motorcycle. The government laid the blame for the killing at the feet of Islamist extremists.

The murder of Brahmi mirrored the killing of opposition activist Chokri Belaid, who was also shot dead outside his house six months ago.

Tunisian supporters of ruling Islamist Ennahdha party chant slogans on August 3, 2013 in Tunis in solidarity with the government. (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid)

The opposition has been protesting almost daily since Brahmi’s assassination, with demonstrators clashing with police. The have called for mass protests on Sunday as a countermeasure to the pro-government rallies.

Increase in extremism?

The Tunisian armed forces launched airstrikes against militants who killed eight soldiers earlier this week in the deadliest attack on government forces in decades.

Meanwhile, two bomb blasts targeted security forces in the Tunisian capital during the week, the first attacks of their kind to be seen in Tunis.

Furthermore, the Interior Ministry announced on Saturday that “two dangerous terrorists" had been taken into custody for planning an assassination attempt on a politician in the coastal town of Sousse.

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement attend a rally at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement hold a portrait of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during a demonstration at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement attend a rally at Kasbah Square in Tunis August 3, 2013. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)







Comments (3)

 

Ed Camilo 04.08.2013 20:13

The government of any democratic nation must be proportionally shared among society's prominent factions. Even if the Islamist were the majority in Tunisia, they have to accommodate the significant minorities ( communists, atheists, non religious conservatives and liberals etc.) and share power in a proportional way. The Islamist would be well advised to rule by consensus and not by decree. otherwise Morsi's fate is what awaits them. Actually religion should have no say in government. As is, religion already has to much sway in society. The only function of the government should be to make sure everyone is cared for.

 

Lahcen Oizaz 04.08.2013 11:15

Elections are the only legitimate way to change a regime unless those elections are not possible in a reasonable time frame through abuse of state powers. No Arab country will be successful to solve its political crisis without support and cooperation with other Arab countries on a party like minded level promoting cross border solutions and alliances.

 

Othman Karaouli 04.08.2013 11:10

But do you know that those were gathered by mass propaganda (Mass SMS,Bus Pick-ups from all over the country,leaflets,etc ...) and that everyone got paid to attend?

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