"In the current situation of confusion, Islamists have a lot of room to manoeuvre"
Badiaa Boulila, 24 ans, étudie à Tunis.
The religious slogans chanted by protesters on March 31 paved the way for the public prayer on April 1. Some people were saying that they were ready to “die as martyrs”, and claimed they were ready to face the police. Their positions are already quite extreme.
On Friday [April 1], there was a strong police presence in front of the Interior Ministry’s Habib Bourguiba avenue, where the protesters prayed, but I think it wanted to avoid any kind of direct confrontation with demonstrators. The atmosphere was very tense, and they knew that if they had tried to stop the prayer, things could have gotten out of hand.
Among the people who participated in the prayer, some were carrying the Tahrir party flag. Others, however, probably just wanted to signal their discontent with the current government.
"The government has no authority whatsoever"
I don’t think Islamists have that much influence in Tunisia but, in the current situation of confusion, they have a lot of room to manoeuvre. On the one hand, political parties aren’t organised enough to constitute a credible opposition. On the other, the government has no authority whatsoever. Just recently, it broadcast a radio message asking citizens to please pay their water and electricity bills. That goes to show how little control they have over people! The Islamists will take advantage of this situation.”