Tunisian protesters defy ban to demand the release of Saied critics


Tunisians rallied on Sunday to defy a protest ban, demanding the release of over 20 prominent political figures who opposed the Tunisian president Kais Saied.

More than 20 political figures were arrested in recent weeks. This includes members of the main opposition party of Tunisia, the National Salvation Front (NSF) and its key component, the Islamist-leaning Ennahdha party.

On Sunday, hundreds of Tunisian protesters chanted, “Freedom for the detainees.” They waved Tunisian flags and pictures of detainees who were arrested in recent weeks. They denounced Saied’s power grab of the country as a “coup.” They demanded the release of the detained detainees.

Dozens of people marched toward Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the central thoroughfare of Tunis. Subsequently, the crowd increased to 500. A policeman urged them to stop the protest. A protester reportedly said, “We will not stop until democracy and institutions return.”

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Saied accused the arrested political figures of practising “terrorism” and causing recurrent food shortages in Tunisia. However, Amnesty International, an international non-governmental organisation, called the arrests of the political figures a “politically motivated witch hunt.”

In 2021, President Saied sacked the government and froze parliament. In 2022, he issued a decree dissolving parliament. Islamist Ennahda coalition rejected Saied’s move to dissolve parliament in order to lead the country.

Saied’s opponents accused him of a coup when he suspended the parliament, sacked the government, and took emergency powers. He introduced changes to the political system of the country. Opposition political parties and civil society groups continue to reject Saied’s power grab of the country.

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union also slammed Saied in recent weeks. UGTT chief Noureddine Taboubi accused Saied of targeting the union. He urged an end to Saied’s accumulation of powers.

On Saturday, people also protested against deteriorating economic conditions in Tunisia. The economic crisis has been deepening since 2021 when Tunisian President Saied dissolved the parliament.



Alaina is a young writer passionate about sharing her work with the world. She has a strong interest in new writing styles and is always trying to find ways to be more creative.

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