Tunisian cabinet lifts ban on protests on Habib Bourguiba Avenue
11 Apr 12

On 11 April the Tunisian Cabinet lifted a ban on protesting on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis.

In a communiqué released on 28 March, the Interior Ministry prohibited all “forms of collective expression” on the avenue, after receiving “complaints” from a number of businesses, and citizens.

After the Ministry’s controversial decision, there were two attempts to break the ban. On 7 April, dozens of unemployed graduates sought to protest on the avenue, but police used tear gas and batons to disperse them. Two days later, police cracked down on demonstrators who attempted to celebrate Martyrs’ Day on the same avenue.

Major buildings, such as the once so feared Interior Ministry, and the French Embassy are located on the avenue.

Habib Bourguiba Avenue has a symbolic significance for Tunisians. It was there, when thousands of anti Ben Ali regime protesters gathered on 14 January 2011. Ever since that day the avenue, once a commercial and a touristic attraction, has turned into an epicentre of protests.