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Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen...

category north africa | community struggles | press release author Wednesday February 02, 2011 22:10author by Alternative Libertaire - International Secretariat Report this post to the editors

People struggling for freedom and social justice!

The wave of protests which began in Sidi Bouzid on 17 December continues to grow. Sparked off by a gesture of despair by Mohamed Bouazizi, it is giving hope for a better world to millions of people in a growing number of Arab countries. After the riots in Algeria and Libya earlier this month, now is the turn of Egypt, Jordan and Yemen to see extensive social movements... [Français]
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Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen...

People struggling for freedom and social justice!


The wave of protests which began in Sidi Bouzid on 17 December continues to grow. Sparked off by a gesture of despair by Mohamed Bouazizi, it is giving hope for a better world to millions of people in a growing number of Arab countries. After the riots in Algeria and Libya earlier this month, now is the turn of Egypt, Jordan and Yemen to see extensive social movements. This is not surprising since, not considering the particularities of each country, they do share some fundamental characteristics: the poverty of the majority of the population, severely aggravated by the crisis, and more or less brutal authoritarian regimes that have always monopolized the wealth.

In Tunisia, the mobilization of the people continues. After the fall of the tyrant, the people could have gone back to their homes, placed their faith in the politicians and awaited further events in front of the TV. But this has not been the case. Getting rid of the Ben Ali/Trabelsi mafia is not enough: the whole "ancien regime" of the Party-State, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) must be destroyed.

The setting up of a national unity government on 17th January shows that the bosses of the RCD are clinging to power. The more moderate fringe of the revolution is ready to accept a compromise in order to speed up the normalization process that is being called for by all those who are threatened by the revolution - the bosses, foreign investors, the Algerian and Libyan regimes, France, Israel, the United States, etc.

The most determined revolutionaries are refusing any half-measures that would allow the old regime to continue after a facelift. Their main demand is for the RCD to get out: to get out of the government, to get out of the administration, businesses and schools. Demonstrations against the government continue to take place in the capital as well as in the main centres of the revolution. Since Sunday 23rd January, hundreds of people from the "Caravan of Freedom", which set off the day before from the centre-west of the country (Menzel Bouzaiane, Sidi Bouzib, Regueb, Kasserine) have been camped outside the prime minister's residence.

Strikes by massive numbers of workers were held on the initiative of combative sectors of the Tunisian General Union of Labour (UGTT) earlier this week in the primary education sector, and on Wednesday there was a regional general strike which affected 5 governorates (provinces), including Sfax, the second-largest city. Some workers have taken direct action themselves to oust Ben Ali's people still working in the institutions, local administrations, public enterprises and media. The CEOs of Tunisie Télécom, STAR (insurance) and Banque Nationale Agricole were emphatically shown the door by their employees.

Faced with public pressure, Prime Minister Mohammed Gannouchi backtracked step by step, throwing a few crumbs in the hopes of calming the protesters, but without success. Finally on the evening of Thursday 27 January, he made a major concession: RCD ministers in key positions (Defence, the Interior, Finance and Foreign Affairs) had been replaced by technocrats. Two former Ben Ali ministers remain, in less important positions, but they resigned from the RCD, to sweeten the pill.

Will this new retreat bring a return to calm? Nothing could be less certain. The inhabitants of the poor regions of the interior, the workers and the young unemployed will not allow their revolution to be stolen from them without doing anything. Because it was they themselves who suffered most under the former regime and its submission to the dictatorship of the market, and it is they who are behind the revolution and who are paying the price. Because the problems that forced them to protest are still there - poverty, unemployment, corruption and cronyism.

In Jordan, there have been three days of protests since the fall of Ben Ali. At the instigation of trade unionists, Islamist parties and left-wing parties, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Amman and other cities across the country to the cry of "No to oppression, yes to change!, "We want freedom and social justice!" and "No to the hunger which brings us to our knees!"

In Yemen, one of the poorest of Arab countries, thousands of demonstrators are demanding the departure of president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak - in power for 30 years - is trembling on his throne. For several days, the regime's security forces have been cracking down hard on protesters with dozens killed and thousands injured over two days. After cutting the population off from telephone and internet connections - important tools for spreading information and organizing the uprising - Hosni Mubarak fired his government and promised democratic reforms. But in Egypt and Tunisia, the crumbs thrown to the people by threatened regimes are not enough to dampen the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people, who continue to throng the streets of Cairo demanding that the president go.

Alternative Libertaire supports the struggle of these people for freedom and social justice and we denounce the complicity of the French State with the authoritarian regimes in Arab countries.

29 January 2011


Translation by FdCA-International Relations Office

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