Anti-government protesters hold flares and shout slogans during a demonstration in Tunis
TUNIS: Thousands of protesters gathered outside Tunisia’s national assembly yesterday demanding the ouster of the Islamist-led government, amid political deadlock a month after the assassination of an opposition MP.
“The people want the fall of the regime,” “Get out!” and “(Rached) Ghannouchi assassin,” were some of the slogans chanted by the protesters, the latter referring to the ruling Islamist party Ennahda’s veteran leader.
The organisers, who say the protest marks the first day of a week-long campaign to bring down the government, dubbed the “week of departure,” claimed 60,000 people attended, while the police gave an estimate of 10,000.
The protest took place in a celebratory atmosphere, with demonstrators draped in the Tunisian flag and singing the national anthem, while opposition MPs addressed the crowd.
“We must bring down the government of shame... because of which there are only political assassinations, terrorism and the harassment of political activists, the impoverishment of the people,” said Mongi Rahoui.
“Soon we will go to the Kasbah and surround it,” he added, referring to the location of the government’s headquarters.
An evening concert was planned by artists backing calls for the dissolution of the cabinet.
Yesterday’s gathering comes one month after secular politician Mohamed Brahmi was assassinated, the second attack of its kind in six months, which plunged Tunisia into crisis.
The opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), which organised the protest, has repeatedly insisted on the resignation of the Islamist-led government step down and the formation of a non-partisan administration. AFP