Thousands march in Tunis for Palestine

Amid the escalation of violence against Palestinians in Gaza, Palestine solidarity groups and left parties in Tunisia have organized several mass mobilizations

October 21, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Thousands on the streets of Tunisia to express solidarity with Palestine.

Thousands demonstrated in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, on October 21, as part of a national call for mobilization launched by the “National Committee to Support Resistance in Palestine”. The thousands of demonstrators from different progressive and left organizations, associations, and parties, mobilized to support the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip. It is the second march organized by the Committee to Support the Resistance in ten days.

The march began after midday from Human Rights Square or “Chokri Belaid Square” on Mohammed V Street, heading to Habib Bourguiba Street, raising slogans such as “The people want to criminalize normalization,” “The people want to liberate Palestine,” and “The French and Americans are partners in the aggression,” carrying Palestinian flags.

Read more: Israel’s indiscriminate killings in Gaza continue as Biden visits

The march stopped in front of the French embassy, which was guarded with a heavy security presence. There, the protesters called for the expulsion of the ambassador, as an expression of their denunciation of the French position, which from the beginning of the Israeli aggression, was in line with the Israeli narrative and in support of its actions.

Among those attending the march were Hamma Hammami, Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, Bassem Trifi, President of the Tunisian League for Human Rights and President of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, as well as several leftist organizations, movements, and associations.

When addressing the thousands of protesters, Hamma Hammami, Secretary General of the Workers Party of Tunisia, expressed that people must unite their efforts across many countries to support the Palestinian people and expel the ambassadors of France and America from their countries, citing how the countries of sub-Saharan Africa did this recently.

He expressed that people taking to the streets is tantamount to supporting the Palestinian people in their resistance to Israeli aggression, which they consider to be an enemy of humanity and must be resisted by all means.

Anti-normalization law

Among the slogans that were raised in the national march was the slogan demanding an anti-normalization law in Tunisia, which many organizations have been calling for for years, but has yet to be implemented.

Normalization refers to the act of recognizing Israel and establishing diplomatic ties with it. Normalization is in direct violation of the Arab Peace initiative of the Arab League which established that no member would normalize relations until Israel withdraws from the occupied territories (West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon), addresses the Palestinian refugee issue based on UN Resolution 194, and establishes a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Already four members have turned their back on the agreement and signed the Abraham Accords on normalization including Morocco, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

In the midst of the current Israeli aggression against Gaza, President Kais Saied has come out more than once during National Security Council meetings, expressing his denunciation of the “Zionist” aggression and calling for the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on their entire lands from the river to the sea.

While Saied’s condemnation of Zionist aggression rings true for most organizations, many complain that he has yet to go beyond words. Furthermore, since Saied carried out a coup in July 2021, he holds all power in his hands so has the ability to implement a law that would effectively criminalize normalization, yet he has refused to do so thus far. Hamma Hammami pointed this out when speaking on a radio program and reiterated the demand for such a law.

In 2015, the Left Front had submitted a law to criminalize normalization, but it was not submitted to Parliament until 2017, leaving it locked in offices without being approved.

However, the recent escalation of violence by Israel has put the discussion of an anti-normalization law back on the table. Rumors have circulated that it could come forward, but there have been no official statements confirming or denying this.