By ABIR and SALIM
Thousands of Tunisians took to the streets this month to protest the seizure of almost total power by President Kais Saied. In July, Saied dismissed the prime minister and suspended parliament. Last month, he rescinded much of the constitution and threatened to rule by decree. The protests were met by heavy police repression. This article from the New Anti-Capitalist Party of France was translated by Stan Miller in Paris and edited by Socialist Resurgence.
In Tunisia, a police and judicial crackdown—never before seen since the implementation of liberal democracy in 2011—is targeting any kind of dissent. The retaliation against activists of the 2020/2021 winter mobilization was already strong, but with the July 25 coup the repression became worse and wider.
Former parliamentarians have been put on trial in military court and jailed. Alternative media journalists have been prevented from doing their jobs and harassed by the police. The police are increasingly organized in police unions and are being unleashed against working-class neighborhood residents, LGBT people, grassroots and political activists, trade unionists, etc. A dozen feminists, LGBT activists, and leftists are being charged with “aggression against civil servants.” Their judicial files are being transferred to the court of Jendouba—far from Tunis, their town of residence.
The feminist journalist Arroi Baraket is being brought up on the same charges, although she was actually attacked by a cop. Her trial was supposed to take place on the 22nd of October, but it was rescheduled to Jan. 26, 2022. On the 21st of October, Badr Baabou, the president of the LGBT organization Damj, was badly injured by cops, who stole his phone and data about the organization. He had to be hospitalized.
These activists belong to a new generation shaped by the revolution. All of them have been very active in the mobilizations of the last 10 years. Looking forward to radical change, they are fighting against authoritarianism, patriarchy, and capitalism. By putting an end to the liberal democracy that started in 2011, the current coup is a brutal response to the contradiction between, on the one hand, the self-organization and dissent spaces that the revolution opened and, on the other hand, the capitalist and patriarchal established order.
In the last couple of years, many workers stood in opposition to the bosses’ dictatorship and demanded better working conditions. Many women have demanded equality between sexes and also an end to sexist violence in coordination with the emerging LGBT movement.
Whereas social inequalities and poverty are exploding, the authoritarian restoration aims at safeguarding the interest of the bosses and maintaining patriarchy. The NPA [New Anti-Capitalist Party in France] states its solidarity with all those who are resisting an authoritarian restoration and who are fighting for a more just society.