Tunisians fill city centre to protest against president

Published on: 14/01/2022 – 20:33

Tunisian police used tear gas and water cannons on Friday to disperse hundreds of protesters who refused to block a rally in protest of the ouster of President Kais Saied in July.

When this country turns 11 years old since the dictator’s rule was over Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after fleeing the captivity, police have set up a special operation in central Tunis to deal with protests against Saied demanding an end to his “plot”.

The protesters rallied despite the ban on rallies held Thursday as cases of coronavirus escalate. North Africa, but what Saied’s opponents say is political.

AFP reporters saw more than 1,000 protesters gather on Mohamed V Avenue, but were prevented from reaching Habib Bourguiba Road, the site of the massive protests that toppled Ben Ali in 2011.

Some demonstrations broke a police blocking clubs before police with tear gas and water cannons to push them back.

AFP journalists saw many people arrested.

“It is the most brutal act of the security forces that we have seen in the past year, in terms of the methods used and the number of arrests,” said Fathi Jarai, president of the Independent Anti-Task Force (INPT).

Some protesters chanted “conspiracy!”, Referring to Saied’s actions on July 25 when he ousted the government, suspended parliament and seized power.

Since then he has been legally in power, until the outrage of his enemies, including Islam-inspired Islamic powers. Ennahda party.

Some Tunisians, tired of the irrational and unstable parliamentary system, welcomed his move.

But to his detractors, both among Ennahdha’s members and the left, he clearly showed a return to the same kind of autocratic practices that were common under Ben Ali.

Prominent human rights activist Sihem Bensedrine, who chaired the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD), criticized government officials for taking away the right to protest and threatening the “right to freedom of expression”.

“We have come to protect Republican institutions,” he said.

“These people, who overthrew a 23-year-old dictatorship, will not allow another dictator to take his place.”

‘Work for Us’

One of the things Saied did was change the day Ben Ali left for December 17, 2010 when leafmaker Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself alive which led to the first protests.

The move seemed to represent Saied’s assertion that the terrorists had been robbed.

Sofiane Ferhani, whose sister died in the change, said Saied had no right to “touch” the January 14 festival.

“We don’t let him do it, this day is very dear to us,” he said.

Ennahdha’s followers have likened Saied to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose brutality at the 2013 Islamic demonstrations left hundreds dead.

One protesting woman told a police officer on Friday: “You work in Sisi and the United Arab Emirates!”

The demonstrations took place despite a number of measures, including late night stay and a ban on public meetings, which came on Thursday evening to curb the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

Ennahdha, the largest party in the suspended parliament, on Thursday accused Saied of “using the coronavirus crisis to further its political agenda, in pursuit of the remnants of freedom” in Tunisia.

The protest comes amid a bitter feud between the party and Saied after former lawmaker Noureddine Bhiri and another Ennhadha official were arrested by police in uniform on December 31 and later charged with “terrorism”.

(AFP)


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