By Nissaf Slama | Jul 4 2013demonstration , Ennahdha , Morsi , petition , protest ,
Activists are attempting to recreate Egypt’s Tamarod protest movement in Tunisia, claiming that they have gathered widespread support for the dissolution of the current government.
The movement, formed last month, is seeking to overthrow the government led by the Ennahdha party. Ennahdha has an Islamist ideology similar to the Muslim Brotherhood movement of Mohammed Morsi, who served as Egypt’s president since June 2012 but was removed from office Tuesday by the Egyptian military. The Egyptian Tamarod mobilized large numbers of demonstrators in across the country to demand Morsi’s ouster. [display_posts type="related" limit="3" position="right"]
Tunisia’s Tamarod consists of young activists who say they are independent and seek only the good of the country. They demand the immediate dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), early presidential elections, and the preservation of the 1959 Tunisian Constitution, although with amendments.
These conditions, they say, will save the country from further political deterioration.
The NCA has been involved in an ongoing process of drafting a new constitution, but it has been fraught with disagreements and disputes.
Tamarod has already gathered 175 thousand signatures on a petition stating these demands, and the movement intends to continue gathering signatures, according to a press conference held by the movement’s members on Wednesday.
“The movement has received a huge response from people, especially in interior regions, who swarmed to sign the petition and declared their readiness to move towards the capital in order to put pressure on the government,” Hela Kraim, a member of Tamarod, told Tunisia Live.
“Our plan of action covers all regions in Tunisia, from Bizerte to Ben Gerden, and we have a coordinator in every city,” Kraim said.
Critics of the movement have asserted that Tamarod calls for violence because of the movement’s name, which means “rebellion” in Arabic. Mohamed Bannour, a leader in the movement, claims that the group is simply calling for a rebellion against tyranny and the ‘Islamization’ of the country.
Ennahdha members have rejected the possibility that such a movement could be successful in Tunisia, asserting that they have been more open to dialogue and compromise than Morsi’s party was in Egypt. [display_posts type="same_author" limit="3" position="right"]
Ennahdha spokesman Zoubeyer Chhoudi, however, told Tunisia Live today that Tamarod “is a test for our elite and we will see how it goes.”
Bannour argues the movement is entirely peaceful and works with civil society members to mobilize people and raise awareness of the urgency of the current political climate.
“We push people towards popular protest and if we reach two million signatures, we will organize a big demonstration in the capital, Tunis,” Bannour said.
While the movement is generally critical of Tunisian political parties, claiming they only seek their own interests, Bannour and Kraim both said that they would willingly work with any that showed a genuine intention to enter national dialogue. They would even work with NCA deputies, said Kraim, provided they resign from the assembly.
Raja Ben Slama, a Tunisian academic who has been critical of Ennahdha, declared her support for the movement and told Tunisia Live that the NCA has failed in its obligation to prepare the new Tunisian constitution within one year. The assembly was elected over year and a half ago.
“I support all peaceful movements in their struggle for democracy and justice,” said Ben Salma. “This government exercises absolute power and in my opinion it has lost both legality and legitimacy.”
However, Ben Slama does not agree with Tamarod’s demands to preserve the 1959 constitution, instead calling for revisions on the current draft being debated in the NCA.
Ben Slama said that the situation in Tunisia holds the possibly for national dialogue that could result in a consensus constitution, making an outcome like Egypt’s unlikely.