Tunisia police fill city center ahead of protest in defiance of COVID-19 rules

Hundreds of Tunisian police surrounded a central area of ​​the capital on Friday ahead of a planned protest against the president called in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions.

Opposition parties, including Islamist Ennahda, are protesting President Kais Saied’s suspension of parliament, his accession to executive power and attempts to rewrite the constitution, which they call a coup.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or through the app.

Hours before the protest began, police erected barricades and filled the area around the central Avenue Habib Bourguiba, long at the center of protests, including during the 2011 revolution that ushered in democracy.

Dozens of police cars were in the area and two water cannons were placed in front of the Interior Ministry building on the same street.

Friday’s protest goes against a ban on all indoor or outdoor gatherings that the government announced on Tuesday to stem a wave of COVID-19.

Ennahda and other parties taking part in the protest accused the government of introducing the ban and resuming its night curfew for political rather than health reasons to prevent protests.

Although Saied’s intervention in July seemed very popular at first after years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, analysts say he appears to have since lost some support.

Tunisia’s economy remains mired by the pandemic, little progress has been made in garnering international support for fragile public finances, and the Saied government appointed in September announced an unpopular 2022 budget.

Friday falls on what Tunisians previously marked as the anniversary of the revolution, the day autocratic former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country.

However, Saied decreed last year that instead of falling on the anniversary of Ben Ali’s departure into exile, it would be marked on the December anniversary of the self-immolation of a street vendor whose suicide sparked the uprising.

Read more:

Tunisia to reinstate COVID-19 curfew and ban gatherings to curb spread of virus

The UN castigates Tunisia for the arrest of the ex-minister of justice

Cash-strapped Tunisia to borrow another $7 billion in 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *