A decade after the 2011 Revolution, a new generation of Tunisians is back on the streets as a broad, intersectional movement united through grassroots militancy.
Subaltern groups were key actors in this new form of popular mobilization that called for human and social rights, living wages and social justice. Workers in Tunisia’s major trade union, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) were central to protests that had occurred long before 2011. At the same time, women of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) posed significant opposition to the regime throughout the nineties and the new millennium in their struggle for gender rights against state feminism, Islamism and rising conservatism.
The democratic transition in Tunisia that began in 2010 culminated on January 14, 2014 with the adoption of a new constitution. Tunisian women have secured relevant achievements through this process. With the approval of several laws increasing women’s political and legal rights, such as Law 58, passed in 2017, which criminalizes violence against women. Despite this, Tunisian women, LGBTQ+ people and youth activists still experience widespread police violence and repression.
In January 2021 — exactly a decade after the mass demonstrations in response to the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi which set in motion events leading to the end of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime — a new wave of protest in Tunisia broke out.
Interview with Henda Chennaoui about these new mobilizations. Henda is a leading Tunisian feminist and women rights activist focusing on social struggles, queer activism, civil resistance and economic inequalities.
Author(s): Henda Chennaoui
Full Title: Queer and feminist militants are shaping Tunisia’s protests
Publisher or Journal: Roar Magazine
Year of Publication: 2021
Document Type: Interview