Tunisians protest against amnesty for corrupt officers

Hundreds protest in Tunisia demonstrating against law which clears cases against businessmen accused of corruption during rule of ousted former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the economic reconciliation bill at Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis September 12, 2015.

Hundreds of protesters marched on Saturday in Tunisia's capital Tunis demonstrating against a controversial law which clears cases against businessmen accused of corruption during the rule of ousted former Tunisian President  Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The protesters waved banners on which "This law will not pass" was written. Authorities had warned of possible car bomb attacks by militants. The key avenue of the capital was closed for several days because of the threat.

The draft law specifies an amnesty for businessmen who are accused of corruption in exchange for confessions and money. This money taken back will help supporting the country’s economy, which was hit by two militant attacks in 2015. The attacks negatively affected Tunisia's tourism industry, on which the country’s economy depends.

Tunisia had witnessed an uprising against corruption five years ago which led to the ousting of former President Ben Ali in a step towards democracy following free elections and a new constitution.

After ousting Ben Ali, a compromise was reached between an Islamist party and opposition figures with former Ben Ali officials.  

The 2010 to 2011 Tunisian revolution sparked what was called the Arab spring in the other Arab countries of Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Asma, a young protester wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: "No forgiving" told Reuters "We'll keep in the streets until this law is defeated."

According to Reuters, one of the ministers said the law will recover at least five billion dollars, but critics have rejected the law saying that it will allow the return of Ben Ali’s corrupt officers and his close circle, especially his wife’s family.

Several Tunisians were detained on charges of corruption or had fled the country following the revolution.  

After an armed attack at a beach resort in Sousse killed 38 tourists, a state of emergency was introduced in the country. Demonstrations and protests have been outlawed due to the state of emergency.

TRTWorld and agencies