Tunisians protest against president’s seizure of power

Opponents of Tunisian President Kais Saied will take part in a protest against what is known as his coup on July 25, 2021 in Tunis, Tunisia. REUTERS / Zoubeir Souissi

September 18, 2021

Tarek Amara

Tunis (Reuters) – Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Tunis on Saturday to protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied’s seizure of sovereignty, sparking a constitutional crisis and accusations of a coup.

Demonstrators gathered in the center of the capital, chanting “stop the blow” and “regain legitimacy”, and dozens of Saeed supporters protested, “the people want to dissolve parliament”.

The protest was the first with a heavy police presence since Saeed impeached the prime minister on July 25, suspended parliament and said he had seized administrative power.

Saturday’s protest could show how many of its leaders will handle public opposition to it by security agencies newly appointed by Saeed.

Police appeared to treat the two protesters equally, standing between two camps outside the glamorous Belle Epoque Theater on Rue Habibburgiva.

Saeed’s movement was widespread in countries suffering from years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, but concerns about the new rights and democratic system that won the 2011 revolution that sparked the “Arab Spring.” Caused.

Moderate Muslim Nahda, the largest party in parliament, initially condemned his decision as a coup, but it quickly backed off and the time since Saeed’s intervention has been mild.

But eight weeks later, Saeed has yet to appoint a prime minister or express his long-term intentions.

Saeed’s adviser told Reuters this month that the president is considering suspending the 2014 constitution and putting a new version to a referendum.

Meanwhile, immunity has been lifted, arresting some parliamentarians and preventing many Tunisians from leaving the country.

Saeed dismissed the coup charge and his supporters offered his decision as an opportunity to reset the interests of the Tunisian revolution and eliminate the corrupt elite.

“They are here … just to protect the corrupt and the Islamists,” Mohammed Slim stood with his son in an opposition movement.

(Report by Tarek Amara, written by Angus McDowall, edited by David Holmes)

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