After more than a week of protests across the nation following a sudden, government-imposed lockdown on the 10th anniversary of the January 14, 2011 revolution, security forces have arrested over 1600 people, 600 of them children, according to Yassine Azaza, a human rights activist and volunteer lawyer on behalf of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH by its French acronym). Those numbers were given to Nawaat/Meshkal on January 20, 2021, but since then the numbers have increased and human rights activists and organizations said they are struggling to keep track.
Jordan, its Debt and the Mirages of the IMF
The demonstrations in the summer of 2018 put the economic policies pursued since the late 1980s back at the heart of public debate in Jordan. The dispute has opened up a political space that had disappeared since the failure of the “November” 2012 conflagration, and brought the issue of taxation back to the forefront of the discussions. Extending the debate to the global economic approach has at least made it possible to question several central points of the official discourse, in particular the recurring subject of debt reduction.
An outsider’s look at the January 2018 protests in Tunisia
Nawaat addressed two questions to five foreign researchers who have written extensively about Tunisia’s politics and are familiar with the country’s particularities and complexities. It is a humble attempt by Nawaat to provide our readers with an outsider look that goes beyond Tunisia’s mainstream narrative, the polarized discourse and recurrent repression that accompanies every social movement.
Tunisia in 2017: The divide between local struggles and government policies
If many had hopes that 2017 might hold answers to the social and economic demands of the revolution, those hopes were short-lived. Tunisians faced an increasingly grim economic situation with an 8% drop in the value of the dinar and unemployment at 15.3%. The country’s long-awaited municipal elections, promising decentralized governance, are postponed until May 2018. Several months after the Prime Minister declared a « war against corruption », parliament passed the “reconciliation law” pardoning administrative officials implicated in economic crimes under the former regime. As much as resistance to changing old ways persists, protest movements represented a dynamic social force in 2017.
Michaël Ayari (ICG – Tunisia): Intra-elite struggle, social movements and inclusive economy
The last report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) about Tunisia diagnosed corruption and clientelism as the main problems plaguing Tunisia’s “national unity” government. Titled “Blocked Transition: Corruption and Regionalism in Tunisia”, it called for a more inclusive formal economy for business newcomers and entrepreneurs. It also drew attention to the fringe group of business leaders operating in the informal sector, and cited this group’s involvement in backing the protests occurring in the south of the country. That idea inspired a backlash of criticism concerning ICG’s framing of the conflict as an intra-elite struggle. Nawaat had a meeting with Michael Béchir Ayari, senior analyst for ICG Tunisia. Interview.
El Kamour: Resistance in the south radicalizes despite intimidation
Set between an oil field and the main road connecting oil wells to the rest of the country, the El Kamour sit-in, firmly constested by the government and the media, has persisted for more than three weeks. In the days following Beji Caid Essebsi’s speech, the will of the sit-inners remains unchanged. And since the government appears determined to fulfill a dialogue of the deaf, the resistance continues to radicalize. Report.
Manich Msamah declares a “grassroots state of emergency”
Over the long weekend of July 22-25, the campaign Manich Msamah, [I will not pardon] against the economic and financial reconciliation draft law occupied the streets of eleven cities throughout the country. Marches and sit-ins throughout the month of July have multiplied as ARP deputies resume discussions concerning the measure originally submitted to parliament in July 2015.
Women at the forefront of social movements in Jebiniana
For the past two weeks, some fifty women have assembled each day in front of the delegation of Jebiniana in hopes of a better life.