Tunisia celebrates anniversary of revolution amid tensions

Rallies mark differences between secular and Islamist society

14 January, 20:15

Celebrations marking the second anniversary of Tunisian revolution Celebrations marking the second anniversary of Tunisian revolution

(ANSAmed) - TUNIS - Tunisia on Monday marked the second anniversary of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's flight into exile in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings amid persisting insecurity and social tensions.

In a muted ceremony, accompanied by Premier Hamid Jebali and Constituent Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jaafar, President Moncef Marzouki kicked off the celebrations by hoisting the national flag over Kasbah Square in Tunis, near the headquarters of the ruling coalition led by the Islamist Ennahda party.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was expected to attend, was a no-show.

Ennahda supporters rallied in front of the communal theater, where the anti-Ben Ali marches used to start, and traded insults with supporters of secular party Nidaa Tounes when their paths crossed. Other peaceful rallies were held by secular as well as fundamentalist parties, as a massive police presence kept the proceedings from degenerating beyond slogan-calling. Presidential guardsmen as a preventive measure detained a group of Salafists, whose radically fundamentalist creed militates for same-sex schools and a return to polygamy, further widening the ever-deepening rift between the Islamist government and its supporters and the secular opposition. A series of attacks in the past few weeks on Sufi mausoleums, a faith the Salafists view as the true enemies of Islam, has done nothing to ease social tensions in the new Tunisia. (ANSAmed).