Posted on Oct 11, 2021
In the ten years since Tunisians toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, the revolution’s high hopes have curdled into political chaos and economic failure.
On July 25th, Kais Saied, Tunisia’s democratically elected president, froze Parliament and fired the prime minister, vowing to attack corruption and return power to the people, the New York Times reports.
It was a power grab that an overwhelming majority of Tunisians greeted with joy and relief, though it has made it harder than ever to tell a hopeful story about the Arab Spring. Held up as proof that democracy could bloom in the Middle East, Tunisia now seems a final confirmation of the uprisings’ failed promise. Elsewhere, wars that followed the uprisings have devastated Syria, Libya and Yemen, and autocrats smothered protest in the Gulf.
Tunisians recently flooded the streets again to demonstrate for Saied — and against democracy. “The Arab Spring will continue,” predicted Tarek Megerisi, a North Africa specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “No matter how much you try to repress it or how much the environment around it changes, desperate people will still try to secure their rights.”
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