Tunisia. In March, Tunisia celebrated 50 years of independence from France. At the end of February, according to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Tunisia include Independence Day (March 20) and New Year (January 1). 1,600 prisoners were released, including 81 political prisoners.
In November, after serving 19 years in power, President Zayn al-Abidin Ben Ali pardoned 55 Islamist prisoners, including two leaders of the banned Islamist movement al-Nahda. Habib Ellouz and Mohammed Akrout had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 following criticized trials. The releases were surrounded by harsh conditions and they risked being imprisoned again without any right to a new trial.
In October, the authorities sharpened the application of a law from 1981 that prohibits women from wearing headscarves in schools and government agencies.
Tunisia’s relations with Qatar became very frosty in October. Tunisia closed its embassy in Doha in protest of Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazira broadcasting two interviews with opposition leader Moncef Marzouki, who returned after five years of exile in France. Marzouki, leader of the banned party CPR (Congrès pour la Republique), had called for civil disobedience against President Ben Ali.
In addition to the treatment of prisoners and opposites, continued criticism was also directed at restrictions on freedom of the press and opinion. However, that did not prevent Tunisia from being elected to the UN’s new Human Rights Council in May.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Tunisia in November during a tour of North Africa. In January 2007, Germany takes over the EU Presidency.
In February, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited and discussed cooperation in security matters.
Tunisia – Tunis
Tunis, capital of Tunisia; 747,200 residents (2014). Tunis, located near the Mediterranean at the northern end of the country, is a political, economic and cultural center with a university (founded in 1960) and a diverse industry. It is also a tourist resort with health spa and archaeological sites. International airport is available.
Tunis (Greek Tyʹnēs) was originally a Libyan city that came under Carthage and was destroyed at the same time as 146 BC. The city was rebuilt as Thuni (later Tunes) by the Romans, but its heyday began with the Aghlabids in the 8th century. During the 13th century, Tunis became a major center in the realm of the sea.
During the 16th century, the city was occasionally controlled by the Spaniards before it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1574. Tunis came to France in 1881 and was occupied by the Germans in 1942-43.
Berber dish on world heritage list
The UN organization Unesco classifies couscous as a cultural world heritage site following a joint application from Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia. Couscous consists of crushed groats, usually of wheat, which is steamed and served with a main course and a large variety of seasoning options. Couscous dishes are considered to be of Berber origin and are common throughout North Africa.
Prolonged corona action and strong dissatisfaction
The night curfew, which has been introduced to counter the spread of coronavirus, is extended until the end of the year. Face masks must continue to be worn in public places. Cafes may be open until 7 pm, but it is forbidden to smoke hookahs. A maximum of 30 people may gather at private events. Several health care associations are announcing a “day of wrath” by 8 December. The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed a total of 3,500 lives in Tunisia and there is strong dissatisfaction with how the government has handled the crisis. The World Bank estimates that the country’s gross domestic product will shrink by 7 percent by 2020.