Thousands demand 'cleansing' of Tunisia

2012-09-07 22:17
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Tunis - Thousands of people protested in Tunis on Friday, mostly supporters of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, demanding that Tunisia be "cleansed" of corrupt remnants of the ousted Zine el Abidine Ben Ali regime.

The crowd gathered in the Kasbah, the site of government headquarters, calling for administrative purges in the media and political opposition, notably members of the exiled dictator's RCD party that once dominated Tunisian politics, to be speeded up, an AFP journalist reported.

"Tighten the screw", "RCD get out", and "The people want the judiciary and media to be cleansed", were some of the slogans daubed on the placards of the protesters, who also flew Tunisian and Ennahda flags.

The demonstration was organised via social media by an informal movement known as "Ekbes" ("Get a move on", in Arabic) that is close to the moderate Islamist party, with a number of those present arriving on buses from outside the capital.

A similar rally was held for the first time at the end of August.

Officially at least, Ennahda played no part in the organisation of the protest, which was mostly attended by its youth supporters who focused their attacks on the the media and political opposition.

"The media do not report the truth about the government's achievements in the regions," said Riadh Chaibi, a senior Ennahda official addressing the activists.

The rally was held as Islamists face accusations by opposition and civil society groups of interfering with press freedom, notably by appointing supporters to head state media companies.

The authorities, in response, say that they are simply trying to remove corrupt remnants of the former regime, which was toppled by a mass uprising in January last year.

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