Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mass Strike/More Vacation

There have been peaceful protest Marches on my street the last few days. This, like the amplified Mosque sermon on friday, would have been impossible a month ago.

The protests are part of a campaign, organized by the main labor union to completely purge the current government of all regime creatures (members of Ben Ali's RCD party).

The main part of the protest is a nation-wide mass strike. It doesn't affect cafes (of course) but everyone else, (including me) is getting a revolutionary vacation.

There is going to be an anti-RCD protest today, since they have been peaceful in Sousse I might go.


I went to the protest downtown, and let me tell you it was confusing. There was a relatively small group of demonstrators in front of the UGTT office, who were waving a UGTT flags

Separated from them by a large group of gun toting soldiers was a much bigger anti-UGTT protest. They were yelling slogans against the leader of the Union (Mr. Jrad) and against the mass-strike. Some signs seemed to call for acceptance of the interim government.(?)

Interestingly, both sides were yelling slogans against Ben Ali. This protest and demos like it across the country point the potential for instability here


  1. Thank you for keeping the wider world updated on the events in Tunis from the perspective of a man on the street. Have you heard anything about what's calling itself the 14th of January Front? It's an alliance of:
    League of the Labor Left
    Movement of Nasserist Unionists
    Movement of Democratic Nationalists
    Democratic Nationalists (Al-Watad)
    Baasist Current
    Independent Left
    Tunisian Communist Workers Party
    Patriotic and Democratic Labour Party

    and they're trying to remove all traces of the RCD in the new government.
    Founding Statement: http://www.albadil.org/spip.php?article3675
    (in English): http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/tunisia250111.html

    Is this sort of thing looked on favorably by, as you said, the apolitical average man?

  2. I have heard nothing about these parties, or the Front.

    There are some left of center/center-left/secular parties I've heard of (ONLY in the media) but I'm pretty sure none of them are represented here.

    It might be a political front for the UGTT. Honestly, Ba'athists, Communists and Nasserists tended to hate each other when they were relevant. (50 years ago) The fact they are banding together now doesn't say much about their prospects.

    The only parties people mention are the RCD (almost universal dislike, even where I live which is it's heartland) and the "Islamists."

    Most people either seem slightly open to the Islamists, or completely opposed to them. At this point Tunisians generally distrust political parties and politicians and some people are openly calling for the military to overtly seize control.

    The only institutions that get any love are the main labor union, UGTT (the UGTT is increasingly polarizing though) and the Military (who everyone loves.