Tunisia: Weekend Protests as Palestinian Cause Drives Frustration

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Diplomacy, Security, Social, Tunisia


On 17 February 2024, protestors marched to the French Embassy in downtown Tunis in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.  

Since the conflict began in Gaza in October, the French Embassy on Avenue Habib Bourghiba in downtown Tunis has been a frequent gathering place for protestors, with France broadly considered a target of protests due to support for Israel. 

The US Embassy has also seen a consistent, though smaller group of protestors gather to express frustration with US policy regarding Israel. 

Protestors called for a ceasefire in addition to making continued demands for legislation that would criminalize normalization with Israel. Such efforts were made in 2023, but ended when President Kais Saied intervened to discourage Parliament from adopting the legislation that would have made many forms of contact with Israel and Israelis illegal. 


The pro-Palestinian cause continues to be a broadly unifying issue across Tunisia’s fractured political landscape, and a source of persistent frustration with Western powers including France and the US. While protests have not reached the same size as those observed in October and November 2023, frustration over the violence in Palestine continues amongst many Tunisians. 

However, despite vocal support from many political blocs, President Saied has resisted tangible actions against Israel, including discoursing the adoption of the controversial legislation that would have criminalized normalization, and avoiding putting forward Tunisia’s vote for formal legal action against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

These events continue to raise questions about Tunisia’s diplomatic and economic commitments with states such as Saudi Arabia who remain intent on resuming steps toward normalization with Israel when the war in Israel/Palestine ends. 


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