Google Doodle celebrates Tunisia’s National Day 2024

The search engine logo for 20 March, as it appears to users in the North African country, commemorates the day it achieved independence from French rule in 1956

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 20 March 2024 14:06 GMT
The Tunisian flag flies on this depiction of the Google Doodle
The Tunisian flag flies on this depiction of the Google Doodle (Google Doodle)

Google Doodle has celebrated 20 March with a nod to Tunisia’s National Day, as the search engine’s logo for users in that country incorporates artwork of their red and white flag flying high in the sky.

On this day in 1956, Africa’s northernmost country officially gained independence and ended decades of French colonial protectorate.

To celebrate the day, parades are usually held in the country’s capital, Tunis, and government officials and citizens attend wreath-laying ceremonies to honour those who fought for the freedom of their nation, Google Doodle wrote.

The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has sent out his congratulations on behalf of the US as Tunisia marks its national day.

Tunisia and the United States have over 200 years of friendship and remain strategic partners today, Mr Blinken said.

“We will continue to firmly stand by the Tunisian people as they strive for inclusive economic development,” the statement read. “The United States remains committed to working with the Tunisian people to achieve these shared goals of prosperity, security, and respect for fundamental freedoms.”

The French military occupied Tunisia in 1881, after which the Treaty of Bardo was signed by the Bey of Tunis, Muhammad III as-Sadiq, and the French Republic to establish protectorate control.

Subsequently, Tunisian nationalists fought for some 75 years until they finally prevailed and gained sovereignty for their nation in 1956.

Riots, political violence and conflicts greeted the original occupation, leading to the deaths of both Tunisian nationals and French government officials. Some 100,000 Tunisians also fled the country during the initial occupation. By 1882, the French military had prevailed and in 1883, a convention was signed formally establishing the French protectorate and ending Tunisian power to control international diplomacy.

Within the next few decades, Tunisian nationalist movements grew in force, with political parties created, and riots, boycotts and demonstrations against the French occupation taking place throughout the country. In 1934, after decades of unrest and continuing French repression, a new group, the Neo Destour Party, split from the established Destour liberal party, adopting a more radical nationalist stance, under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba.

By 1952, however, unrest had reached fever pitch, as violence escalated to the point that the UN General Assembly appealed for peaceful negotiations between the nationalists and the ruling French.

In 1955, Prime Minister Edgar Faure of France and Habib Bourguiba signed an autonomy agreement in Paris and on 20 March 1956, Tunisia finally achieved independence from France, with Bourguiba taking up the role of the country’s first president.

By that point, an estimated 3,000 people had died during three-quarters of a century of conflict.

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