Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tunisian President’s supporters threaten to open 'Pandora’s Box' in Tunisia

October 6, 2021 at 9:00 pm

People stage a protest against the extraordinary decisions of President Kays Said in front of the Municipal Theater building on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, Tunisia on September 26, 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Fears are growing in Tunisia about the violent rhetoric adopted by supporters of President Kais Saied, amounting to “betraying” his opponents, and demanding that they be “killed” or expelled from the country, which may push the country to slip into the violent scenario that prevailed during the troika rule.

During their support manifestations, the President’s supporters raised banners, including what they called the “Treasons List”, including the Ennahda movement, former President Moncef Marzouki and the Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party, Hamma Hammami, as well as constitutional expert Jaouhar ben Mbarek and a number of opposition MPs.

Social media pages also circulated a video showing a number of Saied’s supporters in the city of “Monastir” (East) organizing a “funeral for the Ennahda movement.” They carried a coffin with a slogan of the Ennahda movement, chanting expressions that betray the movement and calling for attacks on its members.

Mohamed Goumani, a representative of the Ennahda movement, wrote: “The threats and violence of populist militias are an imminent threat to Tunisia. Stop messing around before it collapses.”

READ: Preliminary rulings in Tunisia to drop 80 lists that ran for the 2019 elections

He considered, in a radio statement, that the political lexicon adopted by President Kais Saied in his speeches is violent. He called on Saied to unite Tunisians and avoid the logic of exclusion, noting that the country is about to slip into a very dangerous territory.

Former President, Moncef Marzouki, wrote: “A president who is tearing apart the unity of his people because he does not know that his first job is to gather, like a doctor.”

Marzouki added: “Listen to his speech and compare with the speech of his supporters to realize the extent of the second crime: the explosion of what was hidden in the hearts of hatred, grudges, obscenity, and violence.”

He pointed out: “This is the difference between revolution and counter-revolution: between the 17 December Revolution, which brought out the best in us and what is in them, and the July 25 coup, which blew up the worst of them and us.”

The Workers’ Party denounced the growing fascist populist tendencies which are hostile to freedom and rights, and the atmosphere of vile incitement and treason which, it said, preceded the wave of violence and terrorism during the rule of the Troika.

The party held President Saied responsible for any aggression against its president, Hamma Hammami, “for his personal responsibility in spreading rhetoric of treason to the entire political arena, without exception or discrimination.”

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is Tunisia’s president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The party also called on the Public Prosecution to take action and file a lawsuit against everyone involved and behind these frantic campaigns targeting personal and collective security.

Furthermore, the party condemned “the escalating campaigns in the virtual space and in street movements in campaigns of treachery, infidelity and incitement against the anti-coup parties, associations, organizations and figures, campaigns that carry serious and real risks that will later turn into criminal acts targeting the security and dignity of those concerned.”

He called on “all progressive forces, parties, organizations, and figures, to be alert and vigilant, and to confront the populist and fascist dangers that threaten our society and country.”

Constitutional expert, Jaouhar ben Mbarek, wrote: “I hold Kais Saied fully and directly responsible for any attack that affects my physical safety or the safety of my family and the safety of any opposition fighter whose name is mentioned in the lists of treason and incitement raised and promoted by his supporters. We have reached frightening stages that we have never reached before.”

READ: Tunisia arrests journalist for ‘committing despicable act against president’

He added: “Every free person, every democrat, and every fighter, regardless of his position on what happened, should take a stance now about what is happening before it is too late. The most important thing in the past is the present and the future. The future of the civil state and the community of co-existence are in serious and unprecedented danger, which is growing everyday in silence or manoeuvring.”

Observers believe that Tunisia is currently experiencing a critical political and social period, similar to the atmosphere that prevailed during the rule of the Troika, especially in 2013.

In 2013, Tunisia witnessed the return of political assassinations in the country, and it would have almost caused a civil war but, thanks to the intervention of wise people, especially the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet headed by the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), where a national dialogue was held that led to the formation of a national unity government headed by Mehdi Jomaa.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.