Tunisians braved the streets of Tunis on Saturday in protest at a new law that would offer amnesty to those convicted of corruption.
The “economic and financial reconciliation” bill – provided to the Tunisian cabinet by President Beji Caid Essebsi in mid-July – offers amnesty to businessmen and civil servants accused of corruption.
Under the law, those accused of corruption would be cleared of any wrongdoing in exchange for confession and the return of misappropriated funds.
However, the protesters – who see the bill as encouraging corruption – chanted slogans against the economic reconciliation law, including: “No to despotism and reconciliation with corruption!”
The law is supported by Nida Tunis, a nationalist party that came to power in last year’s parliamentary elections.
The Islamist Ennahda party, which swept the first parliamentary elections following the ouster of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, also supports the controversial bill.
Meanwhile, Sami Tahri of the Union for Tunisian Workers told AP news agency at Saturday’s protest that the bill was “unfair.”
“The union is against the draft law because it is unfair and unconstitutional,” Tahri said.
“It doesn’t fight corruption, it encourages it.”
Following years of kickbacks for the country’s elite under Ben Ali’s tight control of the economy, Tunisians took to the streets in 2010 in protest of widespread corruption, forcing the former president to flee the country.
ls/rc (AP, AFP)