Tunisians Vow for Tolerance, Secular Rule

World | February 19, 2011, Saturday // 18:51|  views

Protesters gathered in Tunis Saturday to call for secularism and religious tolerance. The slogan reads "Muslims, Chirstians, Jews - We're All Tunisians!" Photo by EPA/BGNES

Thousands have marched in Tunisia's capital Tunis to express their will for a secular rule in their country, following weeks of protests demanding regime change.

The most large-scale civil protests in the country's history, venting anger at corruption, unemployment and an ailing economy, forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee in mid-January.

Some commentators have been worried that the wave of popular unrest in North Africa and the Middle East that followed suit after the events in Tunisia might pave the way for Islamic regimes in the region.

Friday Tunisia was shaken when Polish Catholic priest Marek Rybinski was found killed at the private school he worked at in Tunis.

Saturday ralliers in Tunis waved slogans such as "Muslims, Chirstians, Jews - We're All Tunisians!" and "Religion is Personal!"

Citizens have stated that they want to show that Tunisia is a tolerant country and to counter any attempts at religious-based extremism.

At the same time, an all-out amnesty on political prisoners in Tunisia, which was signed by acting president Fouad Mebazaa, came into force Saturday.

Tags: Tunisia, Islam, Islamist, religion, protest, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali


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