A rally organised by Tunisia’s governing Islamist party brought a few thousand demonstrators to the streets of the capital Tunis.
Their aim: to show their support for Ennahda, the target for much criticism since the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, who was shot dead outside his house on Wednesday.
The rally was much smaller than the massive anti-government protest that accompanied the opposition leader’s funeral on Friday.
Demonstrators escorted by the police and security forces expressed their anger at Tunisia’s secular opposition and chanted slogans against opposition leader Béji Caid.
“I’m here to support this protest and all peaceful rallies which try to save the country and get us out of this political impasse,” said one man.
France was also singled out as a target. The protesters accuse Paris of behaving like a colonial power again. The French interior minister has warned of the rise of “Islamic fascism” in Tunisia.
“Dégage” (“get lost”), read one banner in French against a backdrop of the tricolour flag.
“I’m here to support the legitimacy of this government. We’re here to make sure that the Tunisian revolution continues and to achieve our goals. We’re also here to say no to foreign intelligence services, no to French interference in our home affairs and also to say no to conspiracies,” said another demonstrator.
Euronews correspondent in Tunis, Jamel Ezzedini, said:
“Tunisia’s political conflict is turning into a race to get mobilised, and a show of force in the streets between Ennahda in power and the opposition. Everything is happening amid a charged atmosphere where anything can happen.”