Tunisia calls protest strike against Islamic government

Updated 06 December 2012
0

Tunisia calls protest strike against Islamic government

TUNIS: Tunisia’s largest union called on Wednesday for a general protest strike next week against the Islamist-led government in an escalation of protests that resulted in violent clashes in the capital this week.
On Tuesday, several hundred Islamists armed with knives and sticks charged a gathering of members of the UGTT union in the capital and broke office windows with stones. Police had to intervene to separate the two groups.
“The UGTT decided to go on strike on December 13, after the attack on the central trade unions and trade unionists on Tuesday,” the union said in a statement on Wednesday.
The announcement came as Tunisia prepared to mark the second anniversary of a street peddler’s self-immolation on Dec. 17, 2010, that led to a revolution in Tunisia and set the region on the path to uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.
UGTT Secretary-General Hussein Abassi accused supporters of the Ennahda party, which leads the government, of being behind the recent clash.
But Rached Ghannouchi, the head of Ennahda, condemned the violence and said some leaders of UGTT wanted to overthrow the government. The headquarters of all national bodies needed to be “emptied of all tools of violence,” the party said.
Ennahda came to power following the ousting of former leader Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, whose police state had repressed Islamists and promoted secularism.
The strike by UGTT, which has 500,000 members, would be the first of its kind in Tunisia since 1984.
Ennahda accused leftists who lost last year’s elections of fomenting recent unrest in Siliana, a remote town in the interior, by provoking Tunisians in impoverished areas into confrontations that would drive away foreign investors.
The protests, in which at least 252 people have been injured, including cases of blinding by birdshot, began after a UGTT call to take to the streets to demand jobs, investment and the removal of the Ennahda party Islamist governor of the province.
The government on Saturday temporarily removed the local governor, promised jobs to victims of the 2010 uprising, and police stopped using birdshot after criticism of “excessive force” from UN Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay.


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
0

Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”