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UPDATE: Tens of thousands march in Tunis

Al Jazeera reports, “Thousands of people marking the opening of the World Social Forum in Tunis, an alternative to the elite annual event held in Davos, have marched through the streets chanting pro-democracy and womens rights slogans. Anarchists, ecologists, pacifists and trade unionists joined Sahrawi independence activists, veiled women and Arabs in traditional jellabas as they marched through the heart of the Tunisian capital at the start of the anti-globalisation event being held in an Arab country for the first time.”

The Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians joined today’s three-hour march through the city.

The news article notes, “A carnival atmosphere reigned on Tuesday on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the epicentre of Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution just over two years ago that sparked ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings across the region. …Before the revolution of January 2011, a meeting of the anti-globalisation event in Tunisia would have been ‘unthinkable’, said Mohamed Jmour, a leader of Belaid’s left-wing Democratic Patriots’ Movement party. ‘Thanks to the sacrifice of our people, we have made it happen.'”

News24 highlights, “In the home of the Arab Spring, women have the same status as men under a law dating back over half a century. …But two years after the revolutions that ousted long serving dictators, there is growing unease among women’s groups. Faced with the growing assertiveness of ultraconservative Salafi Muslims, the increasing numbers of women wearing full-body veils and ambivalent remarks about equal rights from politicians, women in both Tunisia and Egypt have returned to the barricades.” And Prensa Latina highlights, “Dozens of women marched through the streets of this capital to warn of the imminent danger to their rights in the region. ‘We want to be a voice for revolution in the new Tunisia, and for freedom to not be repressed,’ the organizers told the press.”

On the schedule for tomorrow for the Blue Planet Project, there are two water related workshps – The truth behind hydraulic fracturing: building alliances with new movements in countries affected by fracking (at 9 am), and a Roundtable on water as a commons and a human right (at 1 pm) – and undoubtedly much more.

For more, please read:
Al Jazeera, World Social Forum opens in Tunisian capital
News24, Global rally for Arab women
Prensa Latina, World Social Forum opens in Tunisia