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ASSABAH (Tunisia), FRANCE 24-ARABE (France),

Worldcrunch

TUNIS – With protests mounting against the Islamist-led government, Tunisia's leading labor union called Friday for the first general strike since the fall of the Ben Ali regime nearly two years ago.

Slated for Dec. 13 in the capital of Tunis, Sfax and other major cities, the strike has been called by the General Union of Tunisian Workers as a response to the violence that was used against its members in front of the Union’s headquarters last Tuesday, France 24 Arabic reports.

As violence spreads in Egypt following President Mohammed Morsi's declaration of new powers, the tensions mounting in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring first ignited, show how fragile the pro-democracy revolution remains even after the downfall of the authoritarian leaders in early 2011.

Representatives of the Union blame these incidents on Islamist members of El Nahda ruling party. The Union also called for banning the “League for the protection of the revolution,” which it described as a militia that uses violence to serve the interest of the government.

As for the Nahda Party, it criticizes the interference of the General Union of Tunisian Workers in political affairs and compares it to a radical opposition party. The party characterized the call for strikes as a political and not a social act.

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Two years ago a popular revolt could not be held down (Habib M’henni)

In this context, Assabah newspaper wrote that these rising tensions could potentially plunge Tunisia into catastrophic upheaval. This strike is the first one the Union calls for after the downfall of the former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and the third in the history of Tunisia. The second strike was two days before Ben Ali fled the country.

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