Teachers strike to 'demolish regime'

Monday 24 January 2011

Teachers across Tunisia kicked off an indefinite strike today to demand that members of the ousted president’s former RCD party stay out of the interim government.

The General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), which called the strike, has refused to recognise the “new” administration because it features key figures from the ousted regime, including Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi.

The UGTT said that over 90 per cent of teachers were on strike.

Nabil Haouachi, a representative of the teachers’ union within the UGTT, said: “We support the demands of the people – the UGTT will never abandon the people in their struggle to demolish the old regime.”

The International Trade Union Confederation reiterated its support for the UGTT and the Tunisian people today “in their fight for an end to corruption and nepotism and the institution of a genuine transition towards a true democracy.”

Protesters kept up that fight in central Tunis, where thousands defied a nationwide curfew on Sunday night for a sleep-in against members of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime.

They were bolstered this morning when a “liberation caravan” made up of scores of protesters from the provinces arrived in the capital, shouting patriotic and anti-government slogans.

Police fired tear gas grenades in the air in an effort to control the growing crowds.

Demonstrators covered their faces with Tunisian flags to protect themselves from the acrid clouds while some shattered the windows of police cars. No injuries were immediately reported.

Larbi Nasra, one of Ben Ali’s relatives and the owner of the Hannibal TV channel, was arrested for treason on Sunday.

In a government statement officials accused him of promoting the former president’s return and “using the channel to abort the youth’s revolution, spread confusion, incite strife and broadcast false information.”

The channel was briefly taken off air on Sunday but resumed broadcasting within a few hours.

Tunisia’s interim government said last week that 33 members of Ben Ali’s family had been arrested but named only one of them, Imed Trabelsi, a nephew of his wife Leila.

From the Morning Star

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