Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Inhabitants of Sidi Bouzid wave black religious flags and call for Tunisia's president Moncef Marzouki to leave at a rally on the second anniversary of the death of fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi.
Inhabitants of Sidi Bouzid wave black religious flags and call for Tunisia's president Moncef Marzouki to leave at a rally on the second anniversary of the death of fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi.

Tunisians, angry and betrayed, gather two years after uprising

Thousands gather amid atmosphere of anger and disappointment to mark fruit seller's self-immolation that sparked protests that became the cataclysmic Arab uprisings.

TUNIS // Thousands of people gathered amid an atmosphere of anger and disappointment yesterday in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, to mark two years since the self-immolation of a fruit seller that sparked protests that became the cataclysmic Arab uprisings.

Chanting the "degage" or "get out" cry once aimed at the former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, people hurled stones at president Moncef Marzouki at a ceremony marking the anniversary. The new president has been globally feted for his role in steering Tunisia toward democracy, but stirred the ire of people in the countryside after failing to address the economic problems that were among the roots of the initial unrest.

Local television showed the president and his entourage being hustled off a stage and into a local government building. Soldiers were providing security at the rally but there was no sign of further violence.

"People are really mad here in Sidi Bouzid, they feel betrayed by the politicians and by the government," said Majd Mastoura, a poet and activist who was performing at a festival to commemorate the passing of the fruit seller, Mohammed Bouazizi. "There is nothing to feel that the people are celebrating anything here. People are feeling depressed."

The president told the jeering crowds: "I understand this legitimate anger. But the government has diagnosed the problem. In six months, a stable government will be in place and will provide the remedy to heal the country's problems."

But his audience was unimpressed. Despite efforts by the government, unemployment has stagnated or worsened in rural areas and, in October and November, thousands of people clashed with police in the similarly rural, poor town of Siliana.

"Here we are celebrating and being happy," said one woman interviewed on Tunisian television, with jostling close crowds behind her. "But nothing has been done. There is no employment and life is expensive."

afordham@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National