Martyrs’ Day: April 9
Martyrs’ Day is celebrated as a public holiday in Tunisia
Martyrs’ Day is celebrated every April 9 each year to commemorate the lives of people who battled for the country’s independence against the French rule on 1956.
History of Martyrs’ Day in Tunisia
Tunisia was ruled over by the French colonies during the period of 1881 to 1956. Despite this condition, Tunisia still remained as a supreme monarch in which Tunisian ministers were still elected in the higher office. Due to the support of the French, the government of Tunisia became stable and well-established.
However, during the World War I, a Destour Constitution Party was established which demanded for the creation of a new constitution that will give the Tunisians equal rights with the Europeans. And on 1934, a Neo-Destour was formed under the leadership of a Tunisian lawyer named Habib Bourguiba. This new organization presented its propaganda to the public to further increase its supporters. The French disagreed with the establishment of the Neo-Destour which resulted in to conflicts between the two parties.
Several rallies and political divergence sparked because of the Neo-Destour. The French felt threatened about the organization which led to the arrest and deportation of Bourguiba and his followers to France. On April 9, 1938, there was an encounter between the parties involved and at least 22 Tunisians were killed and more than a hundred were wounded. It was only on 1942 that they were released by the Nazis, followed by the German occupation that Hitler started thinking they could convince Bourguiba to participate and support the Axis powers and fight back the Allied invasion of Africa but they failed to convince him.
When the Nazi’s advocacy was finally abolished, Bourguiba returned to Tunisia and continued his campaign for Tunisia’s independence and he re-established the Neo-Destour. Along with his group, they planted several attacks on the colonial facilities of the French empire. The French put Bouguiba into prison for almost two years but the Tunisians were never torn apart and still continued their battle for independence.
In June of 1954, the French granted the withdrawal of their facilities in Tunisia which was an order from the administration of French president Pierre Medes. And on 1955, shortly after France granted full sovereignty to Morocco, Tunisia also achieved its independence. An on April 1955, an official proclamation was announced regarding the agreement for Tunisia’s full autonomy from the French.
In memory of the civilians who died in this battle, the government of Tunisia formally declared the 9th of April as a commemoration day to the Martyrs’ of the country.
Martyrs’ Day in Tunisia Traditions, Customs and Activities
Martyrs’ Day celebration in Tunisia involves a solemn gathering to honor and pay tribute to the heroes of the war who sacrificed their lives for the sovereignty of the country.
The celebration of the holiday involves speeches and tributary speeches from government officials and the leaders from civic groups.