Like the rest of Egypt, Tahrir Square in Cairo is off-limits nowadays to the protesters who made it famous three years ago. Its Tunisian equivalent is still open for business, SIA reports quoting the Bloomberg.
In the run-up to the North African country’s parliamentary election last week, Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis hosted rallies by major parties. Islamists and leftists were among groups sharing the tree- and café-lined boulevard, marking out their own spaces for rival campaign events.
Violent upheaval and even civil war have followed the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria in 2011. Tunisia, where that wave of unrest began, showed that it’s on a different trajectory when Islamists agreed to cede power peacefully after losing the latest vote. The Tunisian exception, analysts say, results from a less meddlesome army, more flexible politicians, and an absence of the external interference that countries deemed more important were subjected to.
Mohamed El Agati, executive director of the Arab Forum for Alternatives research center in Cairo, said he was struck by the contrast during a pre-election visit to Tunisia. “Different political parties, supporters of different groups, were peacefully distributing leaflets and hanging posters in the streets, without anyone stopping them or without clashes erupting,” he said.