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Tunisia: ‘Citizens against the Coup’ disavows responsibility for any violence in its demonstrations

November 15, 2021 at 5:42 pm

Hundreds of Tunisians gather at Bardo Square near parliament to protest President Kais Saied’s power seizure in Tunis, Tunisia on November 14, 2021 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

A leader of the “Citizens against the Coup” initiative in Tunisia said on Sunday that they do not bear “any responsibility of violence occurring during their protest.”

This came in statements to Anadolu Agency made by Amine Bouazizi, a member of the administrative board of the “Citizens against the Coup” initiative.

Bouazizi’s statement comes after the Tunisian Ministry of Interior announced, earlier on Sunday, that it had “seized white weapons among the demonstrators” in the movement of citizens against the coup near the parliament headquarters.

Bouazizi added: “We are a peaceful initiative that aims to stop the 25 July procedures.”

He also added: “This protest movement does not call for violence, and there is no place for violent perpetrators in this procession.”

READ: Tunisia blocks path of anti-coup protests

On Sunday, thousands of Tunisians participated in a massive demonstration near the parliament, in the centre of the capital, to denounce the exceptional measures taken by Saied, and some of them tried to reach the parliament building.

The demonstration came in response to the call of the “Citizens against the Coup” initiative to organise a protest, in defence of constitutional and parliamentary legitimacy and in solidarity with the judiciary “against attempts to subjugate and dominate.”

Bardo Square and the parliament area witnessed a heavy security presence, as several security formations were deployed, preventing the demonstrators from reaching the Square overlooking the parliament headquarters.

For its part, the Ministry of the Interior confirmed in a statement, that the number of those present at the vigil in Bardo reached about 1,000 people at around one o’clock in the afternoon this Sunday (12 GMT).

The demonstrators raised slogans calling for freedom of expression and “dropping the coup”, and a return to legitimate institutions, denouncing the path that Saied took, along the lines of “down with the coup”, “leave” and “the people don’t want what they want.”

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]

Since last 25 July, Tunisia has been witnessing a political crisis when its President, Kais Saied, began taking exceptional measures, including: freezing the competencies of Parliament, lifting the immunity of its deputies, abolishing the constitutionality monitoring body, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, presiding over the Public Prosecution, dismissing the Prime Minister and forming other government.

The majority of political forces in Tunisia reject Saied’s exceptional decisions, and consider them a “coup against the constitution”, while other forces support them and see them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution”, which overthrew the then president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

During last September and October, the Tunisian capital witnessed protest movements, in which thousands participated, to denounce the decisions of Saied, who began, in 2019, a 5-year presidential term.

READ: In Tunisia, demands for road map to end crisis as military courts target civilians