TUNIS (AFP) – The People’s Movement of slain Tunisian MP Mohamed Brahmi on Monday called for a weekend rally to mark 40 days since the opposition leader’s murder plunged the country into crisis.
August 5, 2013
By Committee to Protect Journalists
Several Tunisian journalists reported being harassed, threatened, and attacked during the three-day protests following the July 25, 2013, assassination of opposition leader Mohamed al-Barahmi, according to local journalists and news reports.
On July 25, 2013, private satellite channel Tunisia News Network reported that its crew had been prevented from covering a protest outside the house of al-Barahmi. The channel broadcast a video showing some protesters saying the crew was not allowed to cover the protest because it was affiliated with Islamists.
Read full article: http://cpj.org/2013/08/journalists-attacked-and-threatened-in-tunisia.php
August 3 2013
Tunisia’s army pressed ahead on Saturday with operations against Islamists in a remote mountain range after a deadly ambush on its troops heightened a crisis sparked by a political assassination.
The authorities kept a tight lid on the overland and helicopter raids launched on Friday in the Mount Chaambi area near the border with Algeria where Islamist militants including veterans of a revolt in northern Mali are suspected to be hiding out.
Eight Tunisian soldiers were found in the area on Monday with their throats cut after being ambushed by militants.
The interior ministry, meanwhile, said a “religious extremist” was killed and another wounded in two separate incidents while handling explosives.
And police said a suspect package was found in Tunis warning security forces to withdraw from Mount Chaambi.
The coalition government led by moderate Islamic movement Ennahda has acknowledged that the country faces a growing threat of terrorism, although it has yet to issue a call for the public to remain vigilant.
On the political front, a compromise still eluded opponents and supporters of the government in their efforts to defuse a crisis triggered by the July 25 assassination of opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi that has been blamed on jihadists.
Opposition parties have called on the government to step down but failed to draw up a united stand on policy.
Ennahda insists on its legitimacy to govern based on the last elections in October 2011.
Both sides in the political stand-off staged daily demonstrations over the past week, with Ennahda sending out calls for a mass solidarity rally in the capital’s Kasbah Square from 9pm (20.00 GMT) on Saturday.
The government’s critics say it has failed to rein in radical Islamists, who have grown in influence and stand accused of a wave of attacks since the 2011 uprising which toppled long-time president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Since Brahmi’s death – the second political slaying after leftist leader Chokri Belaid was gunned down in February – around 60 politicians have pulled out of the National Constituent Assembly that is drawing up Tunisia’s long-delayed new constitution.
Tunisian authorities have pointed to links between the Chaambi militants, the assassins of Brahmi and Belaid and Tunisia’s main Salafist organisation Ansar al-Sharia, which denies the accusation. – Sapa-AFP
By Mona Yahia in Tunis for Magharebia
Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh is refusing to dissolve the government as a way out of the current political crisis caused by the recent murder of an opposition MP, AFP reported. Larayedh on Monday (July 29th) rejected a call by coalition partner Ettakatol for the government’s resignation.
Tunisia has faced anti-government protests following the Thursday assassination of MP Mohamed Brahmi – the second anti-Islamist political figure gunned down in six months.
“This government will stay in office: we are not clinging to power, but we have a duty and a responsibility that we will exercise to the end,” Larayedh said.
“We think that the National Constituent Assembly will complete the electoral code by October 23rd at the latest so elections can be held on December 17th,” he added. The date is symbolic for Tunisia.
On that date in 2010, 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze and ignited the country’s revolution.
“The government will continue its work and its efforts in the economic and social areas,” Larayedh continued. “We are ready for dialogue with those who want dialogue.”
“As for the Constituent Assembly, we will avoid proposing laws that take too much time and we are ready for the inclusion of more political parties and organisations during the remainder of the transitional phase,” he added.
Calls for the formation of a new government in Tunisia increased Tuesday.
“Ali Larayedh did not provide solutions,” said Mahmoud Baroudi of the Democratic Alliance party. “His policy is one of escape forward. His discourse contains threats and warnings to those calling for the overthrow of a government that has failed to protect Tunisians.”
On Monday night, the powerful Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) also demanded change.
“The UGTT calls for the dissolution of the government and the composition of a government’s capacity formed by a consensus figure,” UGTT Secretary-General Deputy Sami Tahri said.
A potential national unity government is gaining support from various parties.
“There is openness to all proposals, including the formation of a government of national unity, but the Constituent Assembly is a red line for us,” Habib Hamdi from Ettakatol told Magharebia.
“For us, the Constituent Assembly is a red line in that we must talk about dissolving it,” Mohsen Marzouk from Nidaa Tounes agreed.
The leftist Popular Front also insisted on seeing the government and the Constituent Assembly adjourned.
Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar called on independent MPs to return to the assembly and complete the remainder of the transitional phase.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Tunisian authorities must deliver justice to stem a worrying tide of political violence, Amnesty International said after Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead outside his home in Tunis today. Brahmi was the leader of the Tunisian leftist opposition party the Popular Current (Courant Populaire, El Tayyar El Chaabi), a member of the National Constituent Assembly, and a critical voice against the current ruling party Ennahda.
His murder, which occurred on the anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Tunisia, comes just months after another opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, was shot dead in February – sending shockwaves through Tunisian society and prompting the resignation of the then-Prime Minister.
“The targeting of a member of the National Constituent Assembly is a blow to the rule of law in Tunisia,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa deputy director at Amnesty International. “A truly independent and impartial investigation into the killing must be immediately opened. Delivering justice for these two killings and other violent attacks against individuals must be an urgent priority in Tunisia.”
So far, little has been done by authorities to ensure that attacks against members of the opposition are thoroughly investigated and those responsible are brought to justice – fueling a climate of impunity and increasing political polarization. There is an ongoing judicial investigation into Belaid’s murder, with some suspects in custody, but no one has yet been tried for the crime.
“The Tunisian authorities have a duty to protect all individuals, including those who criticize the government or Tunisia’s leading Ennahda party, from violence, and to act against individuals and groups who commit acts of violence, regardless of their affiliation,” said Hadj Sahraoui. “As Tunisians take to the streets to protest Mohamed Brahmi’s killing, we urge the security forces to refrain from unnecessary or excessive use of force and to ensure that people can express their views peacefully and freely.”
The Tunisian authorities have failed to respond to Amnesty International’s request for clarification about the steps taken to dismantle groups linked to attacks against politicians or dissenting voices.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.contact: Amnesty International http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/justice-needed-in-tunisia-after-second-political-murder-this-year