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Young Tunisian says country unimproved since 2011 revolution

Jan 18, 2016 Tunisian demonstrators recently gathered at the country’s capital to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

During the event, President Beji Caid Essebsi said:

“There are other internal studies that say that 73 percent of Tunisians are optimistic as they see that the security situation is continuously improving and that the most important gain that has been realized, since the revolution is freedom,”

However not everyone shared the president’s optimism.

General Secretary of the Tunisian General Labour Union, Houcine Abassi, feared that the demands of the people would not be met.

“What frightens us the most is the forgetfulness of the objectives of the revolution and the expropriation of what we achieved as constitutional rights, consensual and collaborative traditions. We are afraid that the reforms requested by our people for the last five years will be delayed,”

A young blogger, Skander Ben Hamda, said the current problem in the country was of impunity and was hopeful that the Tunisian youth would bring on change.

“The thing that I find essential for Tunisia is justice and much less impunity because, whether we like it or not, what we have today is not the problem of corruption or abuse of power. The real problem is the problem of impunity,” Hamda said. “I consider that Tunisia has a young population and that the youth will end up taking things in hand and move things forward, in spite of the fact that certain people reject such changes,”

In 2011 Adnen Meddeb was among the thousands of people who protested against the rule of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Fast forward five year, despite being praised for its democratic transition, Adnen insists the country has not improved since the revolution.

“What happened was not a revolution, but an aborted revolution. A revolution happens when laws change, when I am arrested by police I have the right to have a lawyer, I have the right to contact my family. I have full rights, when the law guarantees my rights,”

Meddeb, a freelance cinema worker, was arrested in November last year in what he says were false charges of cannabis consumption. He was convicted but later released, after an appeal.

Meddeb believes the police made an example of him because of his role as an activist during the protests of 2011.

Tunisia has been held up as a model for democracy but Meddeb says there are still cases of repression by the state.

Commenting on this, Meddeb said:

“Our laws are dedicated to cutting our freedom and cracking down on the youth and their dreams, to fill prisons. It drives anyone to think about crossing the sea and going to Europe. The poverty, the marginalization, the oppression are the main providers of terrorism. The State is the provider of terrorism, precisely the state and the oppression,”

Meddeb went on to say that he hopes that one day the country will be a true democracy and young people would not be fearful of the police.

“I don’t know if we will be there, but one day my son will be out in the street and won’t be afraid. He won’t be afraid of any eventual issue when he sees a policeman,”

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