Supporters of the Ennahdha Party celebrating the victory of the Islamist party in Tunisia. The country rose up beginning in December 2010 and drove out longtime leader Ben Ali., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Tunisians demonstrate against 'corrupt' judges
TUNIS: Several hundred people congregated Friday in front of Tunisia's central court buildings to protest against what they say are corrupt judges and to call for an overhaul of the judiciary.
"You are the servants of Ben Ali!" some of them cried, referring to the ousted regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, toppled in January 2011 during Tunisia's Arab Spring uprising.
"Compromised by the old regime!" others yelled.
The crowd, mostly backers of the Islamist Ennahda party in power, described judges as thieves, corrupt and rotten.
"Mr Justice Minister, show us the list of corrupt judges," some people at the scene in Tunis also shouted.
Tensions between the Islamist-dominated government and the judiciary came to a head last Saturday when the justice ministry announced that 81 magistrates had been dismissed.
They were removed because they were suspected corruption and because they had been "compromised" by their ties with the fallen dictatorship, said the ministry.
That decision led to a magistrates' strike on Wednesday, which was only suspended after Justice Minister Nourredine Bhiri accepted the principle of a right of appeal for the sacked magistrates.
Under Ben Ali, the judiciary and the media served the interests of the ruling elite, particularly during political trials and those related to freedom of expression.
Nevertheless several Tunisian magistrates did protest the manipulation of the justice system.
In recent months, the capital has seen several demonstrations demanding the "cleaning up" or "purification" of certain public services and administrative sectors.
In March and in April, Ennahda supporters camped out for 50 days outside the headquarters of the national television station to press their demand that its program be "purified".