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Tunisia: Ghannouchi insists 'accusing us of treason means shedding our blood'

Leader of Nahda Movement Rachid al-Ghannouchi greets people during a gathering within Nahda Movement's election campaign at Habib Burgiba Street ahead of Tunisia's presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia on 4 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]
Leader of Nahda Movement Rachid al-Ghannouchi greets people during a gathering within Nahda Movement's election campaign at Habib Burgiba Street ahead of Tunisia's presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia on 4 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]

The leader of the Ennahda Movement and Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi responded to the state of political polarisation taking place in the country, by announcing in an unprecedented speech: “Accusations of treason are nothing more than ‘bloodshedding’. The announcement was a clear and grave warning that certain statements made by political opponents can result in violence.

Ghannouchi’s speech came in response to the campaign waged against him recently, which ended with an attempt in parliament to topple the Ennahda Movement.

He also commented on the situation in Libya, stating that:

Tunisia should be a mediator for peace in Libya, without transferring the war from Libya to Tunisia by certain agents.

Addressing Tunisians and their representatives in the People’s Assembly, Ghannouchi expressed: “There is a kind of demonisation. When a person accuses you of being a murderer, this means that he has shed your blood. Also, accusations of blasphemy, treason and being unpatriotic mean shedding your blood.”

Ghannouchi: “The Tunisia experience has become coupists’ worst nightmar”

He added: “In fact, a part of our cultural heritage contains a kind of exclusion, which suggests a great danger. It is rather a warning of conflict.”

The Tunisian parliament witnessed a tense session in which a number of deputies attempted to overthrow Ghannouchi, but the attempt ultimately failed. Remarkably, the attack was carried out by MPs, and one of them accused Ghannouchi of being “a mole and a traitor”.

“We face a problem in Tunisia, which is the demonisation of one another, the demonisation of dissenting opinion, and this disease represents a threat to Tunisian democracy,” insisted Ghannouchi.

Read: Tunisia’s Ghannouchi wins libel case following online smear campaign

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