30 April 2013 1:11 pm | | 1

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Tunisian political parties, national figures, and the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) have started their preparations for tomorrow’s celebration of the Labor Day holiday.

President Moncef Marzouki, National Constituent Assembly (NCA) Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafer, and Prime Minister Ali Laraayedh will attend tomorrow’s celebrations in the Palais de Congres on Avenue Mohamed V,  according to Chaker Bouajila of the president’s press office.

The three leaders will give awards to the top workers in the public and private sectors, he added.

UGTT Secretary General Houcine Abbassi will give a statement at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow at Mohammed Ali Square, according to his assistant, Hfaidh Hfaidh. At 11:00 a.m., the UGTT will begin a march on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in downtown Tunis toward the Tunis Marine rail station.

“Labour Day is an annual celebration that encourages people to be inspired by the struggles of our martyrs,” Hfaidh said. “This day is an opportunity for us to send a message to the government that it must respect the conventions that it signed and social dialogue.”

He added that the UGTT is requesting the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) amend an article in the draft constitution that would limit the right to protest.

The press office of the Tunisian Labor Party (TLP) said it will participate tomorrow in the march organized by the UGTT.

Tunisia’s celebration of Labor Day dates back to 1946, when the UGTT was founded. Yet the first legal celebration was in 1948, according to the UGTT-affiliated Echaab newspaper.

Former union leader Farhat Hached said on Labor Day in 1951 that “Labour Day has become a festival of the people, a festival that teaches us about the greatest morals; it is the festival of strong shoulders, a festival of sacrifice, the day of the social revolution that liberated peoples from their shackles,” according to Echaab.

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