Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • French most keen to erase their online footprint, says Google

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

Africa

Islamist supporters face off with liberals in Tunis

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-04

Thousands of Islamist supporters traded insults with liberals rallying against extremism on Saturday as a new constitution was being drafted in Tunis. Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party holds the most seats on the constitutional assembly.

AFP - Thousands of Islamist supporters descended on central Tunis Saturday to confront liberal demonstrators rallying against extremism as lawmakers draft a new constitution for Tunisia.

Separated by barriers and police, they shouted insults at each other outside the Bardo Palace where the constitution is being compiled after a vote that saw the moderate Islamist Ennahda party win most seats on the drafting body.

The Islamists waved Ennahda flags but also the black banners of the hardline Salafist Hiz Tahrir, which has not been legalised in the north African country.

Ennahda spokesman Noureddine Bhiri, whose party denied being behind the Islamist rally, went to try to calm the situation as police reinforcements and armoured vehicles were brought in to block the entrance to the palace.

Hundreds of students, teachers, unemployed miners and other protesters began gathering Thursday at the Bardo Palace with various demands.

The protest was partly a response to ongoing demonstrations at a university outside the capital, where Islamists disrupted classes demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear the full-face veil, or niqab.

A spokeswoman for the liberal protesters, Ines Ben Othman, said Islamists physically attacked them overnight.

Ennahda dominates the 217-member assembly elected in the country's first democratic polls on October 23.

Long-time Tunisian leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his staunchly secular regime were ousted in a popular uprising in January and the country has no government yet, while the economic situation is worsening.

Central bank governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli was quoted by the TAP news agency Saturday as saying that growth this year will be zero while unemployment will be up to 18 percent.

The vital tourist sector has been hard hit by the revolution, with foreign visitors preferring to go elsewhere, while the phosphate industry has seen production plummet because of a series of strikes.

In addition some 100,000 Tunisians working in neighbouring Libya fled back home during the upheaval that overthrew Moamer Kadhafi's regime and are left without jobs.

In a statement issued Friday the central bank demanded that its independence be guaranteed in the new constitution, as a draft law threatened to place it under government control.

Ennahda, with 99 seats in the constituent assembly, is accused by some of seeking to concentrate all powers in the hands of the new prime minister, the party's number two Hamadi Jebali.

The assembly is due to vote in the next few days on a power-sharing deal which would make left-winger Moncef Marzouki the country's next president.
 

Date created : 2011-12-03

  • TUNISIA

    Tunisian parties formalise power-sharing deal

    Read more

  • TUNISIA

    Moderate Islamist party big winner in Tunisia’s election

    Read more

  • HUMAN RIGHTS

    Arab Spring activists win Sakharov Prize

    Read more

COMMENT(S)