The protesters defined the march as being a peacful walk for the defense of personal freedom and against religious dictatorship, with signs in Arabic mixed with signs written in English and French calling for “Free Minds” and telling people, “Do not mistake Tunisia with Iran.”
Since October 9th, religious protests have struck in Tunis and around the nation, in two cases provoking the police to use tear gas to break up the gatherings. The protests were a response to the French-Iranian film “Persepolis,” which offended many conservative Muslims when it was aired on Nessma TV because it depicts God with a human form.
On Sunday, a counter-protest took form in Tunis, calling for tolerance and freedom of expression. Today’s protest in Monastir continued with the same message.
Introduced on Facebook by independents not representing either NessmaTV or any party in particular, this event grouped together approximately 10,000 persons on the social network. Similar events appeared planned on Facebook for Bizerte, Mahdia, and Sousse.
Protesters called for tolerance and freedom of thought, asserting that Islam is a religion that offers all those principles and there is no place for extremism or Salafism.
Mahmoud Ghedira reported from Monastir.