Hundreds of people gathered in Tunis on Sunday, despite significant police presence, to protest Tunisian President Kais Saied‘s seizure of governmental powers in July and demand his resignation.
Two months after sacking the prime minister, suspending parliament, and assuming executive control, Saied wiped aside much of the 2014 constitution, granting himself the right to rule by decree.
“The people want the coup to fall,” they chanted in the heart of Tunis, on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the epicentre of the rallies that brought former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s rule to an end on January 14, 2011.”Step down.”
The issue has jeopardised Tunisians’ democratic achievements from a 2011 revolution that sparked the “Arab spring” rallies, as well as hindered efforts to address an immediate threat to state finances, which has investors concerned.
“He [Saied] is a dictator who betrayed the revolution and betrayed democracy…he gathered all the powers…it is a coup and we will bring down the coup in the streets.”
Saied has stated that his measures are required in order to confront a crisis of political stalemate, economic stagnation, and a lacklustre response to the coronavirus outbreak. He has sworn not to become a dictator and to safeguard human rights. Tunisia’s powerful labour union rejected crucial components of President Kais Saied’s near-total power grab on Friday, warning of a threat to democracy as opposition to what his critics term a coup grew.
Last week saw the first demonstration against Saied since his involvement on July 25.
Tunisia’s largest political party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has denounced Saied’s actions as a “flagrant coup against democratic legitimacy” and urged Tunisians to unify and protect democracy in “a tireless peaceful struggle.”
On Wednesday, four other major groups released a unified statement criticising Saied, as did another large party, Heart of Tunisia.