Thursday, 1 June 2017

Another 'Arab Spring' in Tunisia?

A 'Second Revolt' at El Kamour
COULD an encampment of tents outside a pumping station on the edge of the Sahara in Tunisia be the sign of another Arab Spring?  A second revolution perhaps?

It seems that owing to the impatience of thousands of young people fed-up with poverty and unemployment, protests have broken out and attempts have been made to close down the main oil pipeline at El Kamour.  There have been confrontations with the National Guard, which tried to burn down the protest camp on May 22nd.

Since then a police station was burned down, and one demonstrator was killed.

It's now six years since the revolution that brought down Tunisa's 23-year-old dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The current protests reflect the frustration with the broken promises of the new democratic leaders who have failed to create tangible improvements in the poor regions.

It seems that the demonstrators reflect the spirit of the new generation that has grown up in an age of relative freedom, only now to face the prospect of long-term unemployment.

Well educated out-of-work graduates have now formed a movement in towns and villages throughout Tunisia.  The demonstrator's main demand is jobs.

The government has claimed the demonstrators are linked to terrorists or are being used by the mafia.  

In the desert camps, some 125 miles south of Tataoine, 200 protestors were on a vigil watching the pipeline that remained shut off.  They said that they would stay until the government accepted their 17 demands they had presented to the government.

In Tataouine, the demonstrators were reported to be in control of the streets.  The New York Times journalist, Carlotta Gall reported that they were camp outside the governor's office and at main intersections.  She wrote:  'in scenes reminiscent of the popular uprisings of 2010 and 2011 remnants of burned tires still blocked parts of the roads'

The governor resigned last Tuesday and left town.  The demonstrators have organised mostly on Facebook.  They have avoided the main-stream Tunisian media.

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