Marzouki targeted by protests, chants of “Long Live Ben Ali”

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (Image by Reuters, Zoubeir Souissi

The Tunisian press is reporting that President Moncef Marzouki has been receiving rather hostile welcomes in his visit to rural Tunisia. Some residents have welcomed him with the chants of “Long Live Ben Ali.”

From Kapitalis:

The President of the Republic, Moncef Marzouki, on a visit to Siliana [governorate], was booed by people very angry, especially in [the city of] Makthar….

…The presidential motorcade was greeted with stone throwing and the famous Tunisian revolutionary slogan: “Degage”….

…Marzouki even had endure cynical and vengeful chants of “Long live Ben Ali!” . That speak volumes about the state of exasperation and despair of the inhabitants of these regions.

The scene appears to have repeated itself yesterday. Businessnews reports:

After Makthar, it is the turn of Kalâa Kebira (Sahel, central Tunisia) to host Marzouki with boos and “Long live Ben Ali.” The president was visiting this morning, Saturday, March 3, 2012….
…According to eyewitnesses, some locals did not like what they saw as a pre-election campaign and then organized an “anti-campaign” backed up by boos and protests.

Blogger Sarah Ben Hamadi is concerned as well by Marzouki’s actions, which she characterizes as a long series of blunders.

Today we have a president who believes he really elected by the people, even though he was elected as a remainder candidate from his district [Ed note: each district in Tunisia elected several candidates based on a minimum number of votes received, Marzouki received the lowest number of votes possible in order to be elected in his district]… when he visits the interior of the country, the people welcome him with “long live Ben Ali,” it may seem anecdotal, but it reflects the seriousness of the situation.

Actually, I do not know if we have a president or a circus clown. He keeps adding to his blunders despite its [the presidency’s] very limited powers. For example, he expels the ambassador of Syria and then offers asylum to Bashar Al Assad, forgetting completely that the people are asking for Ben Ali’s extradition from Saudi Arabia. This [is] the country where the Prime Minister Jebali went begging for money at the expense of our dignity. Many have died for freedom and the right to work and a decent life. But guess what they are talking about in the Constituent Assembly? They are talking about putting Sharia in the constitution.

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