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Tunisia: protests against president's move to expand powers

Tunisian demonstrators shout slogans against President Kais Saied during a protest in the capital Tunis on September 18, 2021 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]
Tunisian demonstrators shout slogans against President Kais Saied during a protest in the capital Tunis on September 18, 2021 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Hundreds of Tunisians demonstrated Saturday in Sfax in southern Tunisia on Saturday to demand an end to President Kais Saied's move to pool powers.

Two hundred people took part in the protests in Sfax and chanted slogans such as "Touching the constitution is the red line," "People want the Constitution to be functional again," "No to coup and no stepping back from legitimacy."

Their basic demands are to end the coup against legitimacy and the Constitution and to repeal Saied's extraordinary decisions, one protester told Anadolu Agency.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, 18 local and international Tunisian NGOs condemned Saied's move to expand power.

In a written statement, The Free Constitutional Party, led by Abir Moussi who is known to support Saied, said the decisions caused the rooting of autocratic rule and undermined the concept of the republic.

READ: UN calls for comprehensive dialogue to resolve issues

With new decrees issued Wednesday by Saied to expand powers, extraordinary amendments were made regarding legislative and executive powers of the president, and the body established in 2014 to monitor the constitutionality of laws was also abolished.

On July 25, Saied ousted the government, suspended parliament, and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics accuse him of orchestrating a coup.

Tunisia has been seen as the only country that succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition among Arab countries which witnessed popular revolutions toppling ruling regimes, including Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.

Is Tunisia's state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia's state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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