Tunis – At least 2 500 demonstrators held a show of support on Sunday in Tunisia’s capital for President Kais Saied whose power grab has stirred controversy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
“The people want the dissolution of parliament,” “We are all Kais Saeid, we are all Tunisia,” chanted the crowd gathered on Bourguiba Avenue, the main thoroughfare in central Tunis.
On July 25, after months of political stalemate, Saied sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and granted himself judicial powers, a move he followed up by “exceptional measures” that allow the president to rule by decree.
Saied, elected on an anti-system ticket in late 2019, has said his action seeks to “save” Tunisia from “imminent peril” and a socio-economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Security forces were deployed in force Sunday on Bourguiba Avenue, in particular the venue of the demonstration in front of the municipal theatre.
The demonstrators flew Tunisian flags and their banners read: “The people want a revision of the constitution” and “Saied, official spokesman of the people.”
The previous Sunday, a crowd of an estimated 2 000 people rallied, also on Bourguiba Avenue, in protest at what critics have branded Saied’s “coup d’etat”.
Some shouted “Get out, get out”, the slogan that started in December 2010 and culminated in the resignation of Tunisia’s dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, triggering Arab Spring protests in several countries.
Picture: Getty Images