Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said Saturday that his country is facing massive security challenges, noting that his government will protect the democracy in Tunisia in the wake of mass protests in several Tunisian cities demanding a solution for unemployment.
“Democracy is an irreversible choice in Tunisia,” Essid said in a broadcast speech, a day after his government imposed a curfew in the entire country from 8 pm until 5 am. He also added that “there is no room for factional interests as Tunisia is in danger”, stressing that government will continue its consultation over the security situation.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi accused “malicious hands” of exacerbating the situation in the country but said that he understand the demands of the protests. In his speech to the nation Friday, Essebsi urged the government to present plans aiming to reduce unemployment in the country.
According to Essebsi, these protests are normal due to “the heavy social heritage” his government received. He said some parties are trying to take advantage of the current protests, which also result in a security unrest used by IS members in Libya.
Essebsi said the police did not shoot any protesters and urged the government to apply the emergency law in a firm but flexible way. Quiet protesters turned to violence Thursday after angry protests clashed with the police.
Protestors burned several police stations in several cities. Some banks had been attacked in the capital. One police officer was killed in the biggest protests in the country since the 2011 uprising that ousted Bin Ali.
The protests started in the city of Kasserine and extended to other cities.
In an interview with France 24, former Tunisian president Moucef Marzouqi attacked the UAE and described it as the “enemy of revolutions”. The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned this declaration and said Marzouqi involved a friendly country in what is happening in the region.
Former leader in the Nida Tunis political coalition Adel Chaouch said he believes what is happening will not result in re-elections in Tunisia. “We are living in a democratic system now, it is pointless to compare today’s protest to those which ousted Bin Ali,” he told Daily News Egypt.
According to Chaouch, the social problem that existed before the revolution is the reason behind these protests. “During the revolution, these circumstances got worse,” he said. The impact of terrorism on tourism in Tunisia and the economic instability in the EU are important reasons behind the economic problem in Tunisia.
The solutions for the current economic situation will take time and cannot be solved in few days, as some leftist parties claim. Islamist Ennahda Party leader Rached Ghannouchi backed the current government and said he trusts the president, accusing some parties of “fishing in troubled waters”.
“We appreciate the positive stance of the president who trusts his people,” Ghannouchi told local media. Adel Chaouch described Ennahda’s stance as the “best among all the parties in Tunisia”.