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(Reuters) - Tunisian opposition activists have launched their own version of Egypt's Tamarud protest movement, whose campaign to remove President Mohamed Mursi drew millions onto the streets and led to an army ultimatum for the Islamist leader to share power.
New Tunisian protest movement takes cue from Egypt
The youthful, little known leaders of Tunisian Tamarud (Rebel) hope to galvanize opposition to their own Islamist-led government which, like Mursi, came to power after an uprising in 2011 swept an autocratic leader from office.
Like its Egyptian namesake, the Tunisian group accuses the Islamists of trying to usher in a religious state that smothers personal freedoms and failing to drag the economy out of crisis. Its members said they planned to call for mass protests after quickly gathering the signatures of about 200,000 people opposing the government.
That is a fraction of the 22 million signatures their Egyptian counterparts said they collected against Mursi, but the Tunisian activists believe they can acquire comparable momentum.
Tamarud spokesman Mohamed Bennour said the group aimed to overturn a Constituent Assembly charged with drafting a new constitution, accusing the body of preparing the ground for a religious state. It also wants a new caretaker government.
"Tunisia's young are following in the footsteps of young Egyptians.. We are not satisfied with what is happening in the country, from an attack on freedoms to a bad economic and social situation," Bennour told reporters.
The struggle for power has deepened animosity between Tunisia's Islamists and liberals since the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the first Arab Spring uprising.