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CrisisWatch Database

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46 results found

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Tensions and divisions grew among secular politicians ahead of parliamentary election campaign: leading secular party deputy Nida Tounes 1 Sept escaped assassination attempt; party leader and presidential candidate Beji Caid Essebsi 12 Sept claimed top party dissidents and security officials plotting his assassination; two top party officials opposing Essebsi’s candidacy fired following day. Islamist An-Nahda party appeared calm and confident, maintained not planning to field candidate for upcoming presidential election; former leader Hamdi Jebali 19 Sept echoed stance, declining to run and citing wish for Tunisia’s democracy to mature without Islamist-secular divide. Security situation remained stable despite border tensions; police 17 Sept killed 2 armed jihadis on border with Algeria.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Optimism prevailed throughout month following late July “Gentlemen’s Agreement” on political party behaviour before and after elections, despite worries Oct election could re-ignite tensions. 1,500 electoral lists containing over 15,000 candidates submitted by 29 Aug deadline according to Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE). Situation remained under control on eastern border, refugee influx from Libyan fighting stable (see Libya); approximately 3,000 Egyptians crossed daily, evacuated to Egypt with Tunisian cooperation. Security remained tense on Algerian border: suspected jihadis 2 Aug killed soldier manning border post; 2 others wounded by landmine in same area 16 Aug. Police 23 Aug killed 2 women mistaken for members of armed group near Kasserine. Interior ministry 7 Aug said 21 Ansar al-Sharia members allegedly plotting terror attack arrested in Tunis.

Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt forces stepped up operations against militants in west: at least 14 soldiers, 1 attacker reported killed 16 July in Mount Chambi area near Algerian border; 2 soldiers killed 26 July in El Kef region. Govt 17 July created new anti-terrorist agency; 19 July announced 63 suspected terrorists arrested in El Kef, Sidi Bouzid and Kasserine provinces. Around 40 mosques, 1 radio station, 1 TV station closed down by govt 20 July over alleged Islamist radicalism. FM Mongi Hamdi 30 July warned of possible border closure following Libya unrest, said UN presence requested.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Following 13 June agreement by participants in National Dialogue, election commission announced parliamentary elections to be held in Oct ahead of presidential election in Nov, in line with sequence preferred by Islamist An-Nahda party. Security situation remained tense: 2 alleged jihadis killed 12 June by govt forces in Jendouba town; 2 civilians injured 11 June in IED attack in Mount Selloum close to Kasserine town; govt 3 June announced arrest of 14 alleged members of terrorist cell in Gafsa town. Interior minister 6 June called for allowing army to support regular security forces in cities. AQIM 13 June claimed responsibility for 27 May attack on interior minister’s family home that killed 4 police. Committee tasked with investigating alleged state violations of human rights since 1955 established 9 June.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Political calm marred by security incidents: state of emergency declared in south 9 May following violent clashes between inhabitants over agricultural land. Socio-economic protests continued in interior and south. Aziz Amami, blogger and leader of “I burned a police station” movement established to defend young demonstrators on trial for burning police stations during 2011 uprising arrested 12 May on drug charges, charges dismissed 25 May. Human rights groups reported Amani mistreated in custody, said arrest due to police desire for revenge. President Marzouki 6 May raised prospect of presidential pardons for jihadists while visiting Mount Chaambi area, target of ongoing military operations. 2 soldiers killed, 4 injured by landmine in Mount Chaambi 23 May. PM Jomaa 25 May reported terrorist operation targeting national leaders, economic and tourist establishments prevented by security forces. Interior Minister Ben Jeddou’s home in Kasserine, south, attacked late May by suspected Islamist militants, 4 policemen killed. Court 26 May ordered dissolution of vigilante group League for the Protection of the Revolution. New electoral law officially promulgated 26 May: head of electoral committee said general elections will “probably” take place late-Nov.

Tunisia

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Salafis clashed with police 8 April in Rouhia (east) and 12 April in Menzel Nour (west), several police injured. Dozens of Salafis arrested, police raided mosque in Rouhia early April, evicted several self-appointed imams, notably in Baraket Essahel. Major military operation began late-April to rout militants from Chaambi mountains. MPs condemned clemency granted by military to former Ben Ali regime security officials involved in repression of 2010-11 uprising. Economic deterioration continued, several officials suggested short-term austerity measures necessary; PM Jomaa 29 April said reforms needed but ruled out severe cuts. French and German FMs visited, pledged financial aid.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Jan political truce between Islamists and secularists continued. Ongoing debate over new electoral law in National Constituent Assembly; main issue is whether to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on same day and right of illiterate voters to use proxies. Independent Election Commission head 26 March said polls will go ahead in 2014 despite election law delays. Social tensions driven by economic insecurity increased, particularly in south: police and residents in Ben Guerdane clashed 11 March following temporary closure of border post with Libya. 6 security officers wounded 17 March in shootout in Jendouba, NW; 2 officers injured same day in Sidi Bouzid.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

New technocratic govt headed by PM Mehdi Jomaa in place, easing political tensions. Islamist An-Nahda and secular Nida Tounes party struggling to reach agreement on legal framework for upcoming elections and unwritten rules to help avoid clashes. Security concerns remain: armed jihadis 16 Feb killed 4, including 3 security force members, near Jendouba city. Interior minister announced around 400 Tunisians returned from fighting in Syria. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited 18 Feb to discuss security, praised transition progress, promised help in fight against radical Islamist militants.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Improved

New constitution signed into law 27 Jan, day after passing National Constituent Assembly vote with 200 of 216 votes. Constitution clears way for new general elections, most secular democratic constitution in Arab world. Radical religious groups criticised secular orientation of constitution; internal tensions in Islamist an-Nahda party over compromises made to achieve breakthrough. PM Jomaa sworn in 10 Jan to replace an-Nahda-led Troika govt; Jomaa’s new caretaker cabinet approved by parliament 29 Jan. Scattered clashes and attempts to attack govt and political parties across country. Some opposition secularists appeared intent on “de-Islamising” administration, encouraging judges to start trials against an-Nahda ex-ministers over corruption accusations, links to terrorist groups. Protests over economic hardships increased: crowds protested new taxes in Tunis 10 Jan, tens reportedly arrested after clashing with police; same day man killed in clashes near Algerian border after protesters tried to storm customs office.

Tunisia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

National Dialogue between governing Troika and opposition parties 14 Dec reached agreement on industry minister Mehdi Jomaa as technocratic caretaker PM to construct interim govt replacing Troika led by an-Nahda, and lead caretaker administration until elections. Jomaa 18 Dec said consultations on forming new interim govt “ongoing”. Compromises still needed on other issues including new constitution, new elections and reviewing some of an-Nahda’s public administration appointments. Landmine exploded 2 Dec during military operation against Islamist militants in Mount Chaambi, killing 1 soldier. President Marzouki provoked outrage with early Dec publication of “black book” detailing collaboration of public intellectuals, journalists and others with ousted Ben Ali regime. National Constituent Assembly 14 Dec adopted draft law on creation of transitional justice authority.

Tunisia

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Political roadmap suffered setbacks as National Dialogue (ND) suspended after parties 4 Nov failed to reach consensus on PM candidate and opposition accused ruling Islamist party An-Nahda of stalling process to maintain power. Court 11 Nov rejected all nominees for Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE) tasked with organising upcoming elections, said candidates failed to meet legal standards. Opposition politicians and ruling coalition member Ettakatol 7 Nov suspended participation in National Constituent Assembly (NCA) to protest amendments to NCA procedures by ruling Islamist party An-Nahda; An-Nahda 20 Nov withdrew amendments. President Marzouki 3 Nov extended state of emergency until June 2014. National Guard 12 Nov launched operations against radical Salafist group Ansar al-Sharia (AS): arrested AS deputy leader Wael Amami in Kairouan, spokesman Seifeddine Rais in Sidi Bouzid and released them few days later; killed 1 suspected militant, arrested 8 in Nagga firefight. 3 landmines exploded in Mount Chaambi area 17 Nov, woman injured; security forces said mines “recently planted by terrorists”. Police 6 Nov arrested suspect accused of involvement in 23 Oct Sidi Bouzid killing of 6 soldiers. Protests in towns of Siliana, Gafsa during general strike against govt on 26 Nov led to dozens wounded, rioting.

Tunisia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

National Dialogue (ND) began 25 Oct based on new political roadmap signed 5 Oct following months of negotiations. Roadmap stipulates govt to step down within 3 weeks of start of ND, Constituent Assembly to finish constitution within 4 weeks, with new technocratic caretaker govt to govern until elections (date of which to be set prior to govt dissolution). Ruling Islamist party An-Nahda signed document, but 15 Oct said it will only leave office once constitution is ratified, electoral law reformed, independent electoral commission established, dates set for parliamentary, presidential elections; opposition National Salvation Front 23 Oct held demonstrations in protest, said An-Nahda delaying transition. Security situation remained unstable amid increased Islamist militant attacks. Suicide bomber 30 Oct detonated bomb in tourist resort Sousse, no injuries; police arrested second would-be suicide bomber in Monastir and 5 suspects in Sousse, said all belong to Salafi group Ansar al-Sharia. Militants 23 Oct killed 7 security officers near Sidi Ali Ben Aoun in Sidi Bouzid governorate, 17 Oct killed 2 police in Goubellat. PM Laraayedh 18 Oct said Tunisia would defeat “terrorism”; army stepped up operations, 21 Oct killed 9 militants in Goubellat, including Lotfi Ezzine, allegedly involved in assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi; 20 Oct killed 10 militants allegedly belonging to Ansar al-Sharia near Algerian border.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Ongoing mediation efforts attempting to end political deadlock between Islamist-dominated governing Troika and secular opposition. Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) 16 Sept pushed for new transition plan calling for ruling An-Nahda party to step down; An-Nahda initially rejected proposition. UGTT 28 Sept reported An-Nahda agreed to step down in Oct after 3 weeks of talks, hand over power to caretaker govt to oversee elections. An-Nahda leaders later said govt would not resign before agreement on constitution and launch of electoral campaign. Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou 13 Sept acknowledged his ministry received information from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding potential threat to opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi prior to his assassination in July, prompting outrage, opposition demands for inquiry. Media strike 17 Sept following further arrests of journalists.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Ongoing pro- and anti-govt protests and sit-ins as political crisis remained unresolved. Early month saw exchange of fire with counter-terrorism units as they raided private homes. After extensive negotiations within governing Troika and with opposition, ruling Islamist An-Nahda party 22 Aug agreed to start national dialogue with opposition using framework proposed late-July by Tunisian General Labour Union, which entails forming new govt and expert constitutional committee to review constitution draft. However opposition 23 Aug rejected An-Nahda proposal, 24 Aug started week of protest called Rahil (“Departure”) aiming to dissolve govt and National Constituent Assembly, remove An-Nahda-appointed officials. Army 12 Aug launched airstrikes against Islamist militants in Mount Chaambi near Algerian border, after 1 soldier killed and 7 wounded in landmine explosion 4 Aug.

Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2013

Deteriorated

Assassination of opposition MP Mohammed Brahmi by salafi in Tunis 25 July, reportedly using same gun that killed leading opposition figure in Feb, prompted widespread protests, increased political polarisation across country. 2 major opposition parties Nidaa Tounes and Popular Front called for dissolution of govt and National Constituent Assembly (NCA), on basis that ruling Islamist An-Nahda has failed to govern and maintain security and lacks legitimacy in light of failure to complete constitution-drafting process. 65 opposition members withdrew from NCA following assassination, demanding national salvation govt. Tunisian General Labour Union called for “competence govt” and establishment of expert constitutional committee, supported by other unions. Governing troika member Ettakatol 29 July joined calls for govt resignation. PM Larayedh 29 July declared govt will “continue to perform its duties”, urged adopting constitution by end Aug, finalising electoral law Oct to hold presidential elections on 17 Dec. One hour later army reported al-Qaeda-linked militants killed 9 soldiers near Mount Chaambi at Algerian border; emotions running high in wake of attack. Following Brahmi assassination, thousands of pro- and anti-govt protesters staging sit-ins in front of NCA, tensions increasing between camps. An-Nahda end-month said open to forming new govt. Discussions within governing troika and with opposition focused on form of govt: political led by An-Nahda or neutral (competence govt or national salvation govt); and whether to dissolve NCA, opposed by An-Nahda. Bomb exploded on road near Tunis 31 July.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Widening rift between secularists and Islamists with several arrests of secular activists. Draft constitution completed 1 June, prompted further debate in National Constituent Assembly on role of Islam in Tunisian state and long-term aims of coalition-leading Islamist party An-Nahda. Standoff between govt and Islamist groups including Ansar al-Sharia continued; operation against jihadi militants near Algerian border left 3 soldiers wounded 1 June, 3 soldiers killed 6 June (2 by mine explosions) in Chaambi mountains.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Tensions between An-Nahda govt and Salafi group Ansar al-Sharia increased. Ansar al-Sharia 20 May staged banned rally; 1 killed, 15 wounded, 274 arrested in clashes with police in Tunis and Kairouan. Group’s annual meeting scheduled for 19 May banned by govt; PM Larayedh 19 May called group “illegal”, said group “involved in terrorism”. Troops deployed 1 May to Mount Chaambi region to hunt al-Qaeda-affiliated group believed responsible for increase in landmines in area; 12 security officers reportedly injured 6 May by landmines; pursuit of another jihadist group in the northern Kef region, near Algerian border, ongoing.

Tunisia

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Political tensions eased somewhat as 3-day “national dialogue” talks between ruling An-Nahda and centrist opposition forces 18 April produced deal on 29 Dec 2013 election date; talks boycotted by main trade union UGTT and left-wing parties. An-Nahda Shura Council 29 April agreed on mixed parliamentary/presidential political system. Fears remain of increased political, economically-motivated violence ahead of polls amid frustrations over price increases, declining standards of living. Several days of violence mid-April in northern city Bizerte after soccer team barred from national championship, with riots taking on economic, anti-govt tone. Thousands protested in eastern city Sfax 21 April against An-Nahda govt, rising prices, alliance with Qatar. National Constituent Assembly (NCA) 23 April completed constitution draft. Some NCA members submitted motion to impeach President Marzouki 16 April, expected to survive challenge. Military court sentenced ousted president Ben Ali to life imprisonment in absentia. Govt and IMF finalised agreement on $1.75b loan. Govt released names of 5 suspects in Feb assassination of Chokri Belaid. Hundreds of Salafi youths reportedly arrested in crackdown on recruiting centres training them to fight with Syrian rebels.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Political crisis partially attenuated as newly-appointed An-Nahda PM Ali Larayedh 8 Mar unveiled new govt; includes previous coalition partners Ettakatol and Congress for the Republic (CPR). Key ministries ceded to independents: career diplomat Othman Jarandi named FM, Lotfi Ben Jedou interior minister, Rachid Sabbagh defence minister, Nadhir Ben Ammou justice minister. 80 National Constituent Assembly representatives 15 March adopted end-of-April deadline for completing draft of new constitution, calling for presidential and legislative elections before end-2013. Social and political tensions remained high following Feb assassination of leading opposition figure Chokri Belaid; thousands demonstrated in Tunis 16 March, demanded end to An-Nahda govt. Concern continued to grow over deteriorating purchasing power and new round of economically-motivated self-immolation suicides.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2013

Deteriorated

6 Feb assassination of popular opposition politician Chokri Belaïd, member of Popular Front, prompted worst political and constitutional crisis since revolution, deepening polarisation between Islamists and secularists. Belaïd killing triggered mass protests throughout country, with clashes with police, demolition of police stations and Islamist party HQs. Over 150,000 gathered for Belaïd’s funeral 8 Feb; largest trade union same day called general strike in protest at murder. PM Jebali 6 Feb announced dissolution of govt in response to killing, intention to establish interim cabinet of technocrats to replace Islamist-led coalition. Popular Front same day announced withdrawal from National Constituent Assembly; Secular Congress for the Republic, led by President Marzouki, 10 Feb announced withdrawal from coalition govt to support PM Jebali’s attempt to form govt of technocrats, but quickly backed out of move. Jebali 19 Feb resigned following collapse of his plan for apolitical technocrat cabinet due largely to strong opposition from his own An-Nahda party. An-Nahda 22 Feb chose Ali Larayedh as new PM, who president tasked with forming new govt; thousands protested choice. An-Nahda party chief Ghannouchi 27 Feb said will allow independents to take over key “sovereign” ministries in next govt in concession to opposition. Govt 21 Feb announced arrest of Belaïd assassination suspects, later said killer identified. Ghannouchi said An-Nahda not behind Belaïd assassination; thousands marched 9 and 16 Feb in Tunis in support of An-Nahda and Islamist-led govt.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Socio-economic protests in Ben Guerdane turned violent mid-Jan as demonstrators set fire to police station, cars; police used teargas to disperse crowd. Police officers 16 Jan repelled stone-throwing protesters in Kef with tear gas. Roughly 8,000 protested outside Interior Ministry 14 Jan against Islamist-led govt on 2-year anniversary of former president Ben Ali’s overthrow. 2 Muslim shrines destroyed 10, 12 Jan in Tunis suburbs, attacks blamed on hardline Salafists. Authorities 17 Jan said “terrorist” group arrested, large arms cache seized in southern town Medenin. Govt 29 Jan sent special combat units to borders with Algeria, Libya to protect oil and gas installations against potential attacks from Islamist militants. Thousands of policemen protested 31 Jan demanding better pay, equipment, protection.

Tunisia

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

At least 200 injured 27-30 Nov as protesters demanding jobs, economic development clashed with police in Siliana; army deployed 30 Nov to disperse protests. PM Jebali 30 Nov rejected calls for his resignation, accused opposition parties, unions of provoking the protests. President Marzouki same day asked PM Jebali to appoint new cabinet in response. Hundreds of Salafis demonstrated in Tunis 6 Nov against sweeping arrests. 2 Salafi activists died 16-17 Nov in hunger strike initiated following detention in connection with mid-Sept U.S. embassy attack. Imam involved in Oct attack on Manouba guard posts died 1 Nov from wounds sustained during clashes; new Manouba imam 1 Nov called for jihad against ruling An-Nahda in live TV broadcast; 1 killed and several injured as supporters clashed with police next day. Demonstrations continued in mining areas. Some 30 injured mid-month when clans clashed over agricultural land in Msaken in east.

Tunisia

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Ruling Troika of An-Nahda, Ettakatol, Congress for the Republic (CPR) met 13 Oct, agreed on semi-parliamentary system of govt with elected head of state, announced June 2013 parliamentary and presidential elections, after An-Nahda abandoned demand for constitutional criminalisation of attacks on religion. Arson attack 16 Oct on Sufi shrine blamed on Salafists; local leader of secular Nida Tounes party killed 18 Oct during clash between secularists, pro-govt Islamists in Tatouine. Thousands demonstrated in Tunis 22 Oct against killing, govt failure to stem Islamist violence. Hardline Salafis 27 Oct clashed with alcohol sellers in Tunis. Arrest of Salafi Islamist accused of assaulting head of Manouba’s public security brigade reportedly led to retaliatory attack on Tunis police station 30 Oct, 1 Salafi reported killed; ensuing clashes prompted deployment of security forces, extension of national State of Emergency to Jan 2013. Election anniversary 23 Oct also saw demonstrations against ruling coalition. Tunisian national arrested in Turkey for links to Sept attack on U.S. consulate in Libya repatriated to Tunisia 11 Oct, charged with terrorism. Court 24 Oct sentenced Islamist Ansar al-Sharia member Abu Ayab to 1 year in jail for inciting Sept attack on U.S. embassy in Tunis; group’s leader Abu Iyadh 23 Oct accused govt of being un-Islamic, U.S. puppet. Media workers 17 Oct began strike over govt interference; govt same day issued 2 decrees aimed at protecting press freedoms.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

4 killed, 46 injured 14 Sept in attack on U.S. embassy and American school in Tunis over controversial anti-Islam film. Hundreds demonstrated 20 Sept against protestor violence; govt 21 Sept banned all demonstrations. Salafist leader Saif-Allah Benahssine 17 Sept escaped attempted arrest over attacks. 4 police officers arrested 10 Sept for death of prisoner. President Marzouki’s former aide Ayoub Massoudi received suspended prison sentence 22 Sept for insulting army. Protests planned after couple who made rape allegation against 2 police officers charged 26 Sept with public indecency.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2012

Deteriorated

Month saw countrywide protests: over 6,000 protested 13 Aug against language in new draft constitution defining gender roles; 14 Aug general strike in Sidi Bouzid called for release of protesters detained during previous demonstrations, court 15 Aug released protesters; 5 killed 16 Aug when Salafis attacked music, theatre festival, clashed with police. Sfax Hospital strike culminated in violent confrontations between police, protesters mid-Aug. Interior Ministry 16 Aug confirmed Ayoub Massoudi, former aide to President Marzouki, to be tried after criticising army; arrest warrant issued 24 Aug for TV channel director Fehri over satirical govt show.

Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Military court 19 July sentenced in absentia former president Ben Ali to life imprisonment, former interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, former security chief Ali Seriati, 38 security officials to up to 20 years jail over deaths of protesters during revolution. Ennahda 12 July held first congress in country in 24 years; 16 July re-elected Rached Ghannouchi as party chief. Anti-corruption minister Mohammed Abbou 1 July resigned after accusing govt of failing to do enough to combat corruption. Govt 18 July granted license to Islamist group Hizb al-Tahrir allowing it to become legal political party. National Body for the Reform of Information and Communication 4 July announced it was disbanding over govt censorship.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

Month saw mounting political crisis caused by 24 June extradition of former Libyan PM Mahmoudi to Libya; President Marzouki 25 June said extradition “illegal”, decision taken without consultation, rebuked PM Jebali for allowing the extradition; 75 parliamentarians 27 June signed motion for no-confidence vote in Ennahda-led govt. Salafists 11-12 June clashed with police after defacing controversial art exhibition in Tunis, over 100 arrested; govt 13 June condemned rioting as acts of terrorism, 3-15 June imposed night time curfew. Military court 13 June sentenced in absentia ousted president Ben Ali to 20 years imprisonment on charges including incitement to murder. Former PM Beji Caid Sebsi 16 June launched new secularist political party Nida Tunisia. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri 10 June called on Tunisians to defend Islamic law.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Head of Constituent Assembly Ben Jaafar 11 May announced 23 Oct deadline for drafting new constitution. Court 3 May fined head of Nessma television station Nabil Karoui for broadcasting film depicting God; FM Abdessalem warned against foreign interference in justice system after U.S. criticism of verdict. Court 2 May sentenced 2 policemen to 20 years in prison for killing protester in 2011 uprising. President Marzouki 4 May issued decree extending state of emergency throughout country until late July. Congress for the Republic (CPR) Secretary-General Ayadi 9 May announced his separation from CPR along with 11 others; 16 May established Independent Democratic Congress. Govt 11 May recognised Islah (Reform) Front, first Salafist party. In violent campaign against alcohol sales, Salafists 19 May burned bars in Sidi Bouzid. Protests 26 May in Jendouba against arrest of 4 Muslims following attack on alcohol sellers turned violent as Salafists clashed with police.

Tunisia

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Polarisation between pro- and anti-Ennahda forces continued with violent repression by security forces of 9 April “Martyr’s Day” demonstration. Security forces, pro-ruling coalition “militias” violently dispersed protest by unemployed youths in Rades. Islamist, left-wing student organisations 6 April clashed at Manar University. New centre-right Republican Party created 7 April following fusion of 7 parties, including Progressive Democratic Party.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Rift between Salafists and secularists worsened as militant Salafists and labour union activists 11 March clashed in Jendouba; Salafist group 8 March replaced Tunisian flag with radical Islamist flag at Manouba University, clashed with students. Constitutional consultations in National Constituent Assembly 16 March sparked 5,000-8,000-strong demonstration by Gathering of Tunisian Islamic Associations demanding adoption of Sharia law as sole source of legislation; thousands 20 March demonstrated in Tunis against establishment of Islamic state; Ennahda leadership late March said party would oppose Sharia in constitution.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Salafists and security forces clashed 1 Feb in Sfax, 21 Feb in Jendouba. 13 parties 11 Feb formed “Tunisian National Party” coalition to oppose Ennahda. National Constituent Assembly 13 Feb began drafting new constitution. Police, protesters 16 Feb clashed in north following arrest of Monaem Darragi, Secretary-General of Tunisian Workers’ Union (UTT). Defense Minister Zbidi called for further U.S. assistance in guarding borders following 15 Feb meeting with U.S. to discuss increased training, logistical support. Interior Minister Larayedh 13 Feb announced arrest of 12 suspects allegedly linked to Islamic extremist cell affiliated with al-Qaeda; President Marzouki 24 Feb hosted inaugural meeting of “Friends of Syria” in Tunis; 28 Feb offered Syrian Pres ident al-Assad asylum (see Syria).

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

First anniversary of revolution celebrated 14 Jan but economic and security conditions continued to deteriorate, with increasing economic conflicts and widespread protests in the countryside throughout Jan. 6 day strike 13 Jan in mountain town of Makhtar inspired further protests; Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) 25 Jan staged nationwide strike, protesters in northwest 17 Jan blocked national road to demand higher wages. Students at Manouba University, Tunis, 17-24 Jan staged hunger strike, sit in, to protest ban on niqab in exams. Over 8,000 marched in Tunis 28 Jan against Islamist extremism.

Tunisia

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

Clashes broke out 30 Nov along Libyan border between army and armed Libyan groups, causing main Ras Jedir border post and Dehiba post to close, after Libyan militias threatened Tunisian border guards, exacerbating economic difficulties particularly in South. Protests over economy as sit-ins and street blockings increased, central bank issued dire warnings. New president Marzouki sworn in 13 Dec; new govt inaugurated 23 Dec, amid struggle in new Constituent Assembly (CA) between ruling coalition led by Islamist En-Nahda party and opposition led by Progressive Democratic Party. CA 10 Dec adopted provisional constitution, elections to be held in approx 1 year. President Marzouki mid Dec announced sale of presidential palaces to raise money for job creation, called on Tunisian Jews to return, asked public for 6-month truce to get economy in order. Salafist groups continued to agitate on social issues.

Tunisia

  |  1 Dec 2011

Improved

Country saw formation of new govt following historic 23 Oct election. Final poll results announced 14 Nov; moderate Islamist An-Nahda party won 41% of vote, 89 out of 217 Constituent Assembly (CA) seats; left-leaning Congress for the Republic (CPR) led by prominent rights activist Moncef Marzouki 29 seats; populist Popular Petition party led by former Islamist militant 26 seats; liberal socialist Ettakatol 20 seats. New CA inaugurated 22 Nov; 3 main parties formalised power-sharing agreement same day: Hamadi Jebali of An-Nahda to be PM, CPR and Ettakatol holding largely ceremonial Presidency and Speaker of Parliament posts. Military court 30 Nov found ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and several of his senior officials guilty in absentia of torture. Continued concerns over post-election unrest in South and West; thousands-strong peaceful demonstration in Kasserine turned violent 23 Nov, riots in Gafsa region 24 Nov as protestors attacked govt building, authorities declared curfew. Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with students at Manouba University 28-29 Nov over wearing of veil by female students. Interim President Fouad Mebazza 29 Nov signed decree extending state of emergency. Authorities 1 Nov issued international arrest warrant for Suha Arafat, widow of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, as part of corruption probe into Tunisia’s former first family. Govt 8 Nov approved extradition of former Libya PM Baghdadi al-Mahmudi.

Tunisia

  |  1 Nov 2011

Improved

In historic elections 23 Oct moderate Islamist An-Nahda Party won plurality with 90 out of 217 seats. Despite fears of potential for pre- and post-election violence, poll praised by observers as fair and well-organised. Al Aridha Chaabia Party had seats revoked 28 Oct after allegations it broke campaign finance rules; following announcement, protestors in Sidi Bouzid, set fire to courthouse, police HQ, offices of rival party. An-Nahda also had 1 seat revoked in Medenine. Several hundred activists 25 Oct held demonstration protesting alleged reports of electoral improprieties by An-Nahda. Ahead of poll several thousand people 9 Oct attacked TV station following broadcasting of animated film which they claim insulted Islam; police forcibly dispersed hundreds demonstrating 10 Oct at main university in Tunis against ban on wearing niqab, closing of mosque.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Amid preparations for 23 Oct constituent assembly elections, Higher Body for Elections 7 Sept announced deposition of electoral lists completed on time. Political parties 14 Sept agreed roadmap for transition to democracy, parliamentary elections to be held in 1 year. Amid continued instability PM Caid Essebi 6 Sept announced ban on police union activities, strict state of emergency. Security forces 2 Sept opened fire in Sbeitla to break up street fighting involving hundreds, 5 Sept broke up tribal clashes in Metlaoui, 17-19 Sept clashed with youths in Kebili demanding resignation of transitional govt. Following several days of protests in Kasserine against high unemployment 5 unemployed teachers 16 Sept attempted to hang themselves outside education ministry building. Army 21 Sept clashed with unidentified heavily-armed group near Algerian border leaving 6 gunmen dead. Former justice minister Bechir Tekkeri arrested 8 Sept on suspicion of bribing witness in trial of Ben Ali family member. Authorities 21 Sept detained former Libya PM al-Mahmoudi for illegally entering Tunisia.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

Protesters early month calling for judicial reform after Saida Agrebi, confidant to former president Ben Ali, fled country 30 July; govt 9 Aug fired public prosecutor. Court 12 Aug sentenced 25 relatives of Ben Ali including his wife to prison terms; former security chief Ali Seriati acquitted of forgery, still faces charges of plotting against state security. Only 52% of potential voters reportedly registered for Oct Assembly elections despite extension of deadline.



Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Popular frustration over slow pace of reform sparked violent clashes between protesters and security forces in several cities 16-17 July. 1 protester reported killed in Sidi Bouzid, several police injured in Menzel Bourguiba. Interim PM Beji Caid Sebsi claimed religious extremists responsible for violence. Ahead of Oct elections, reform committee 20 July passed bill banning all foreign funding for political parties. Court 21 July opened 2 fresh trials of former president Ben Ali on charges of corruption, property fraud, 28 July sentenced him to 16 years jail.



Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

Following 6-hour trial in absentia, court 20 June handed down 35-year sentence, $66mn fine to former president Ben Ali and his wife for embezzlement. Ben Ali 21 June denounced trial as “parody of justice”. Interim PM Beji Caid Essebsi 8 June announced constitutional assembly elections to be postponed until 23 Oct in line with electoral commission recommendation, in bid to ensure credibility, transparency. Islamist movement Ennahda 27 June withdrew from national reform commission, citing lack of consensus. Tunisia 24 June joined ICC.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Overnight curfew imposed in Tunis 8-18 May following major protests early month against poor living conditions, slow pace of reform. Reports said 1,400 arrested, 300 charged with offences during curfew period. Status of planned constituent assembly elections unclear: electoral commission 24 May announced postponement until 16 Oct, citing insufficient time for preparations; interim govt same day claimed election will go ahead 24 July. 2 reported killed 23 May in unrest at Choucha refugee camp near Libyan border; security forces 24 May used tear gas to break up fighting between refugees, local residents. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture 21 May said around 300 killed, 700 injured during Dec-Jan uprising, higher than previous estimates.

Tunisia

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

High Commission 11 Apr announced 23-year election ban on top officials from ex-president Ben Ali’s disbanded Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD). Hundreds of RCD supporters 16 Apr protested in Tunis against exclusion; transitional govt 26 Apr amended ban to 10 years. Govt 13 Apr announced 18 criminal charges filed against Ben Ali including voluntary manslaughter, drug trafficking. Govt 29 Apr rebuked Libya after pro-Qaddafi troops crossed border during clashes with rebels.

“Hundreds in Tunisia protest political exclusion”, AFP, 16 Apr. 2011.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Interim President Mebazaa 3 March announced constitutional assembly elections to be held by 24 July, confirmed interim govt would govern until then, despite constitutional 60-day term limit on caretaker leaders; claimed constitution no longer reflects ”aspirations of the people”. Interim PM Essebsi 7 March named new cabinet, following string of resignations early month. Court 9 March dissolved ousted President Ben Ali’s Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) party, major demand of continued protests; followed 7 March dissolution of State Security Department.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

Month saw attempts to restore stability following Jan ousting of President Ben Ali. UN OHCHR team 1 Feb said at least 219 killed during Jan uprising. Interim PM Mohammad Ghannouchi, formerly of Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party, 27 Feb announced resignation, following mounting protests against ties to ousted regime. 3 protesters killed, scores injured by security forces in 24-27 Feb demonstrations. UNHCR 27 Feb warned of impending humanitarian crisis following massive influx of refugees from Libya (see Libya). Interior Ministry 6 Feb announced suspension of RCD party, pending formal dissolution. Senate 9 Feb granteddecree-rule powers to interim President Mebazaa, in move intended to expedite reforms. Govt 20 Feb issued formal request to Saudi Arabia for extradition of Ben Ali; seeks trial relating to killing of protesters.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2011

Improved

President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousted 14 Jan following weeks of riots and demonstrations over economic conditions, govt corruption and repression; UNHCR said at least 219 killed. Rallies sparked by 17 Dec self-immolation protest by Mohamed Bouazizi. New unity govt formed 17 Jan under interim President Fouad Mebazaa, former PM Mohammed Ghannouchi retained position as did ministers of defence, interior and foreign affairs. Anti-govt protests continued over inclusion of members linked to Ben Ali’s former Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party. Govt 27 Jan named new interim cabinet ,removed 12 ministers linked to former ruling RCD party, appointed 3 independents to interior, foreign, defence posts; retained 9 ministers, including PM Ghannouchi. General Labour Union (UGTT), main force behind protests against interim government, 29 Jan endorsed new cabinet. Govt 20 Jan lifted ban on all political groups, announced amnesty for all political prisoners; Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of long-outlawed Islamist party Ennahdha, 30 Jan returned from 20-year exile. Interim-PM Ghannouchi 21 Jan announced country’s first free elections since independence. Chief of army General Rachid Ammar, who refused to support Ben Ali’s crackdown on protests, 24 Jan promised army will “protect the revolution”, warned political vacuum could bring back dictatorship.

Tunisia

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Ongoing nationwide riots and demonstrations against rising unemployment. 1 protester killed, several injured 24 Dec in violent clashes with police in central town of Menzel Bouzaiene. President Ben Ali 28 Dec criticised use of violence, warned protesters would be punished with “all firmness”.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2007

Unchanged

At least 2 security force members and 12 Islamist militants killed in 2 clashes in December and January; government said operations had smashed “Salafi terrorist group” planning embassy attacks.

 
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CrisisWatch N°134

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