Tunisian social groups call for independence day demo
TUNIS - Several social movements have called for a demonstration on Tunisia's independence day on Tuesday, to press for the defence of a democratic nation and to recall the secular nature of the state.
March 20, a public holiday in the north African country, commemorates the proclamation in 1956 of independence after 75 years as a French protectorate.
Social groups of the "modernist" tendency have joined their voices in calling for a demonstration on the main street in Tunis, Avenue Habib Bourguiba.
The "citizen's movement" Kolna Tounes has called for a "major rally to reiterate our attachment to the secular nature of the state, republican values, democracy, civil liberties and equality."
"Let us not forget that a social fragmentation was at the origin of the revolution," which last year saw the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the rise to power in the ruling coalition of the moderate Ennahda Islamist party, Kolna Tounes stated.
"People are trying today to break the unity of the nation and to provoke an ideological breach" between Islamists and modernists.
The demonstration by modernists will take place four days after one by thousands of Islamist supporters, who on Friday called in front of the Constituent Assembly for the incorporation of strict Islamic Sharia law into the future constitution.
"On the left or right, let's turn out in large numbers to demand this republic respectful of our fundamental freedoms," wrote the noted blogger Astrubal, while another urged, "If you missed January 14, 2011 (date of the fall of Ben Ali) then be on Avenue Habib Bourguiba on March 20, 2012."