The streets of Tunis have been filled with thousands of anti-government protesters over the past week in protest against the Tunisian President, Kais Saied. Tunisia is the home of the Arab Spring; known for being the sole success story from a series of uprisings that took place across the Arab world in 2011, the revolution brought democracy to the nation.
However, mainly due to the economic crisis in recent years the country has fallen into turmoil once more. In 2021, Saied stripped the parliament of its powers and granted himself executive control.
Most western powers consider the elections last month to be corrupt and rigged. The turnout was only 11% of the population. Unemployment levels are nearing a record high, inflation has rocketed, and there are desperate food and medical resources shortages.
The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests and armed uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East; it began in the streets of Tunisia. The movement then spread to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. Dictators such as Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and others were stripped of their powers as a result.
Most fled to safe havens in Saudi Arabia while Gaddafi was killed by a gunshot wound to the stomach. Minor protests also took place in Morocco, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, Sudan, Mauritania, and Djibouti.
As mentioned, Tunisia has widely been regarded as the main success story of the rebellions, resulting in a full-regime change and western-style democracy. Sadly, the political situation appears to be falling back into old habits. Since the failures of western backed intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with the ongoing support to Ukraine in their war against Putin’s Russia, there is not much of an appetite for the UN and NATO nations to offer support to rebel backed movements in Tunisia; there has been little mention of Saied’s takeover in western press or across the geopolitical agenda.
Unrest in Tunisia’s capital – Tunis.
President Kais Saied.