Tala, located in the midwest of Tunis, witnessed on Monday a massive protest which brought thousands of the dwellers of the city to the streets calling for “the defection” from the governate of Gasserine and threatened to opt for the tactics of civil disobedience next Monday and defect from Tunisia if the Islamist led government overlooks their demands.
“Tala is a governate” was one of the slogans raised in the protest suggesting that the people got tired from being marginalized and deprived from the development projects allocated to the poor interior regions. There is no doubt that the call for civil disobedience next Monday would pile pressure on the troika government to listen to the demands of the people of Tala and start implementing projects that would alleviate the plague of poverty in the town.
The organizers of the civil strike pointed out that the schools, hospitals and medical facilities, drug stores and firefighting services will be exempted from the civil disobedience event. “We don’t serve any organization and we do not have any political affiliation. We are not working towards the overthrow of the government or any other party, all we care for is the development of our city and we are not motivated by any political agendas,” read their statement.
“The challenges will not discourage us from keeping on the struggle for our rights in a civilized manner. Have we not conveyed the message? O Allah! Be our witness.”
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The government has called on the citizens of Tala to engage in a positive dialogue and work with local and regional governmental institutions towards materializing their legitimate demands and aspirations and acknowledged that the town, with high unemployment and poverty rates, was marginalized in the former eras.
The disillusionment over the slow pace of change has driven several Tunisian towns to take to the streets again. Sidi Bouzid, the Tunisian town that sparked the Arab spring, and that witnessed numerous protests in the last year and a half, was home to another protest by an angry mob over social grievances and indecent living conditions.
The government‘s failure in addressing many economic hardships, especially in the interior regions, has paralyzed several towns in Tunisia disillusioned over the inefficiency of the new leaders in achieving the goals of the revolution.
Meriem Dhaouadi is a freelance journalist and blogger based in Tunisia. She is also a regular contributor to Your Middle East.