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21 Tunisian bodies denounce police suppression of protesters

Tunisians take part in a demonstration against President Kais Saied, on the 11th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution in the capital Tunis on 14 January 2022. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Tunisians take part in a demonstration against President Kais Saied, on the 11th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution in the capital Tunis on 14 January 2022. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

As many as 21 Tunisian organisations have denounced "police suppression" of peaceful protesters after security forces forcibly dispersed anti-President Kais Saied demonstrators on Friday.

The organisations including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, the Tunisian Association of the Democratic Women, and Lawyers Without Borders said in a joint statement that the repression indicates that "the Tunisian authorities are seeking to control Tunisia with undemocratic and civil mechanisms that will only fuel anger against the security establishment and deepen the crisis between citizens and the state".

The organisations held the country's President, Kais Saied, and his Interior Minister, Taoufiq Sharaf El-Din, fully responsible for the incidents.

The statement accused the security forces of committing "arbitrary practices that affected hundreds of Tunisians, causing severe physical and psychological damage to dozens of them" and called on the judicial authority to open an investigation into these practices.

Tunisia Interior Ministry: Security forces disperse protesters for violating demonstrations ban

On Friday, Tunisian security dispersed hundreds of protesters against Saied, using sound grenades, water cannons and tear gas and prevented them from reaching the main Habib Bourguiba Street in the capital.

In a separate statement, the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture said its lawyers had been delayed before entering the security agencies' headquarters to search for their representatives, in clear violation of its right to enter all places of detention at any time of its choosing, as dictated by law.

The Authority confirmed that it had monitored a heavy security presence in the centre of the capital, especially in the vicinity of Habib Bourguiba Street, which was completely cordoned off and all outlets leading to it were closed.

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