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Tunisia: ‘Citizens Against the Coup’ initiative begins Tunis sit-in

December 18, 2021 at 11:47 am

People gather for sit-in protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied’s ‘extraordinary decisions’ in Tunis, Tunisia on 17 December 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

The “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative announced on Friday starting an open sit-in at Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the centre of the capital to call on ending the “coup against the constitution”.

“As of today (Friday), we will start an open sit-in until ending the coup and overthrowing the one who turned against the Constitution,” member of the Initiative Executive Body Jawhar Bin Mubarak stated with reference to President Kais Saied.

“Martyrs’ blood and Tunisian sacrifice to achieve the revolution goals require our resilience, standing and our sit-in to express our refusal of continuity of the coup and deviation from the democratic course,” Bin Mubarak asserted.

The Citizens Against the Coup initiative is a popular initiative that proposed a road map to end the political crisis in Tunisia, including holding early presidential and legislative elections in the second half of 2022.

Earlier on Friday, Tunis witnessed two mass demonstrations commemorating the 11th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the regime of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On Monday, Saied announced the continuity of freezing Parliament’s powers until holding early elections on 17 December, 2022.

READ: Tunisia accused of media blackout, threatened with protests

“The constitutional reform bills and others will be issued on 25 July (the Republic declaration date), besides other reforms relating to the regulation of elections without the interference of any party and away from past laws,” The Tunisian president explained.

He also threatened that: “Anyone who commits crimes against the Tunisian people and state will be tried, and the judiciary must fulfil its function with full neutrality.”

In response, prominent political and social forces in Tunisia have declared their rejection of Saied’s decisions, describing them as “thought monopoly and devotion of individual power”, while other forces have supported them as an “expression of the aspirations of the Tunisian people”.

Since 25 July, Tunisia has witnessed an ongoing political crisis, as President Saied declared “exceptional measures”, including the dismissal of Parliament and lifting the immunity of its members, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, the discharge of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and appointing a new government.

While most Tunisian political forces reject these exceptional measures and consider them “a coup against the Constitution”, others support and regard them as a “correcting of the path of the 2011 revolution” in the context of political, economic and health crises.

Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, announced that he took measures under the Constitution to protect the country from “an imminent danger”, asserting that “rights will not be violated”.

READ: Tunisia: former president says Saied is ‘unable to run the country’