Tunisia: Marzouki and Ben Jaafar, Sidi Bouzid, Call On Population to Take Transition Hardships Into Account

Sidi Bouzid — In a tense atmosphere, before a crowd shouting anti-Government slogans like "Dégage!" (Beat it!), President Moncef Marzouki and National Constituent Assembly (NCA) Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar called, on Monday, the citizens of Sidi Bouzid not to lose sight of the economic hardships of the transition stage, which are hampering achievement of the people's expectations.

At a ceremony in Sidi Bouzid on the second anniversary of the Revolution's outbreak, Mr. Marzouki described the protestors' discontent as "legitimate": it is "due to the slowness of the achievement of the Revolution's claims, as well as people's apprehension about the development prospects, in view of the persistent crises and chaos in the country," he explained.

He called on all sides to show more understanding about this critical stage and the damage caused to all institutions in the country, as a result of the 50-year-long period of corruption and dictatorship.

Mr. Marzouki stressed the need to be up to the national responsibility and respect the people's will of choosing this government, reminding that "Government was elected by the people and has been entrusted to serve their interests and their Revolution with loyalty and transparency."

He suggested that the country celebrates each December 17 as the Revolution Day and each January 14 as Victory Day.

"Tunisia remains strong with its national Army, which protected the Revolution, its administration, civil society, youths, its reputation and its glowing image abroad," Mr. Marzouki affirmed.

For his part, Mr. Ben Jaafar delivered his address in the midst of protests, stone throwing and hostile "Dégage!" slogans.

He explained that the visit to Sidi Bouzid was a message of consideration for the outbreak of the Revolution in the region.

The NCA speaker also paid tribute to the sacrifices made during the Revolution, calling to preserve Tunisia's image and be aware that the anti-corruption fight and creation of income sources require radical reforms and more patience.

"Those who love Tunisia should be patient," the NCA speaker said, asserting that Government is striving to achieve people's demands.

"Building of democratic and developed Tunisia is harder than deposing dictatorship," he pointed out.

Due to a severe flu, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali did not attend the ceremony which was held in the presence of Government members and representatives of political parties and civil society.

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