Tunisians with hunger for change in Ramadan

Demonstrators gathered outside the Tunisian Ministry of Culture yesterday to demand the freedom to eat, drink and smoke, free from the police harassment that has become a fixture of the holy month of Ramadan.

“We want the cafés and the bars to stay open,” Rahma Essid, one of the protest’s organisers, said. “They have to respect our liberty of conscience, so that we can live in our country, Muslims and non-Muslims. That’s what we’re asking for.”

Although Tunisia has embraced western-style democracy, the right to disregard religious customs is not guaranteed. The laws governing opening times of cafés and restaurants during Ramadan are opaque. The constitution specifies that Tunisia is a Muslim country, but Article 6 of the same document enshrines its 

Simon Speakman Cordall

 

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