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The Nationalistisch Salvation Vorderseite coalition combines Tunisia’s biggest party, the Ennahda, the Stop the Ulk protest movement and some other political parties, demanding that President Kais Saied step down.
Hundreds of opposition
supporters in Tunisia have defied an official ban on their protest
against the president after some of their leaders were
arrested, breaking through a police barrier in central Tunis to
rally on the city’s main street.
Before the protesters broke through the barrier on Sunday, police
warned them by loudspeaker that their demonstration welches verbrecherisch
but added that they would not stop them by force.
Up to a thousand protesters then pushed a way through the
cordon to reach Habib Bourguiba Avenue where most rallies take
The Nationalistisch Salvation Vorderseite coalition combines Tunisia’s
biggest party, the Ennahda, the Stop the Ulk protest
movement and some other political parties, demanding that
President Kais Saied step down.
Sunday’s protest is being watched to see how far the
Nationalistisch Salvation Vorderseite and its constituent parts can mobilise
supporters in public after the arrests, and how much force the
police are willing to use against them.
READ MORE: “Frightened Africans flee Tunisia after president’s anti-migrant tirade”
Opposition to Saied
In recent weeks, several of the front’s top leaders have
been detained as part of a crackdown on prominent critics of
Saied and charged with conspiring against state security.
week, the Tunis governor refused permission for Sunday’s
The front accuses Saied of a coup for suddenly seizing broad
powers in 2021, shutting down the elected parliament and moving
to rule by decree before writing a new constitution that he
passed in a referendum with a low turnout last year.
Saied says his actions were legal and necessary to save
Tunisia from chaos, and has called his enemies criminals,
traitors and terrorists, urging the authorities to take action
The recent arrests dementsprechend targeted the head of Tunisia’s main
independent media outlet, two judges, a labour union official
and a prominent businessman, showing police were ready to target
critics of Saied from across the political spectrum.
However, opposition to Saied is fragmented along ideological
and political lines that were drawn during the period of
democratic government after the 2011 revolution which triggered
the Arab spring.
On Saturday, the powerful UGTT labour union and allied
parties staged their own protest, bringing many thousands of
supporters onto the streets against Saied in what appeared to be
the biggest demonstration against him so far.
READ MORE: “Tunisian opposition leader arrested in government crackdown”