The Tunisian capital celebrated the start of the four-day World Social Forum on Wednesday, the first in the Arab world, with thousands attending a march from the city center. Tens of thousands of activists from 124 countries, as well as members of the press, are in attendance.
Marchers chanted slogans for various human rights issues, including social and gender equality. The forum will cover a wide range of topics, from climate change to the international financial system, and end with a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians.
An array of organizations is in Tunis to oppose austerity measures across Europe, increasing debt, International Monetary Fund policies, and mass unemployment in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Though the Arab presence is strong, 96 Algerian civil rights activists were barred by the Algerian authorities from going to Tunisia, Human Rights Watch said. Palestinian youth activists from Gaza said many of them were made to wait more than five hours in Egypt before being “deported” to either Tunisia or Gaza.