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Tunisia army bans parliament speaker from entering office

Leader of Ennahda Movement Rachid Al-Ghannouchi (C) attends a session in the Tunisian parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on November 14, 2019. ( Nacer Talel - Anadolu Agency )

The Tunisian army this morning prevented Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi from entering Parliament, while President Kais Saied was seen celebrating his decision to freeze the government.

Hours following Saied's announcement to freeze parliament and sack the government, Ghannouchi along with several MPs headed to the parliament building but they were stopped from entering by the army.

"I am the speaker of the parliament and we are elected MPs," agencies reported him saying. "We are being prevented from practicing our legislative authority."

He added: "We are shocked that the army is being used for this job – closing the gate of democracy. The Tunisian people refuse to return to autocracy and authoritarianism."

Ghannouchi called on the army officers to unite with the people and defend their revolution and freedom "as we have entrusted them."

He reiterated that the parliament's sessions will continue as planned, according to decisions taken by the parliamentary blocs later, calling on all blocs and currents to stand together to defend the parliament and the constitution.

Meanwhile, Saied was seen in Habib Bourguiba Street along with his supporters celebrating ousting the government and freezing parliament.

"I am not carrying out a coup," he said, warning that "those who insult the head of the state would bear full responsibility before the courts."

He also announced that he would take over the Public Prosecution in order to go after those involved in graft and corruption.

"What happened was not a coup," he said, wondering: "How could it be a coup while it was based on the law? I am bearing the principles of the revolution and the revolution's slogans; work, freedom, dignity and patriotism."

READ: Tunisia's exit from the crisis

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