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Tunisia: protest calls for solution to social issues

Tunisians raise placards and national flags as they take to the streets of the capital Tunis to protest against their president, on April 10, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]
Tunisians raise placards and national flags as they take to the streets of the capital Tunis to protest against their president, on April 10, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The National Coordination of Social Movements in Tunisia NGO organised a protest on Monday to demand a solution for the country's social issues, Anadolu has reported. The protest was held in front of the Municipal Theatre in the centre of the capital, Tunis.

Protesters called for "clean air, employment and bread" with placards demanding solutions for the country's social issues before dialogue can take place with the government.

According to Sabri Bin Suleiman, a representative of the NGO, the government is being asked to fulfil its commitments and the terms of agreements agreed previously. "The truce is over, he insisted. "Such agreements are about jobs for the people and improving the conditions of all workers."

Addressing his comments to President Kais Saied, Bin Suleiman added: "There can be no dialogue before solving the social problems that have exhausted the Tunisian people, including the marginalised and impoverished graduates who are unemployed, as well as female agricultural workers, labourers and farmers."

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The NGO, he pointed out, had hoped that the "exceptional measures" introduced by Saied last July would be good for Tunisia and its people. "We have waited for our hopes to be fulfilled, but now we are at rock bottom, and the president is only talking about political problems and laws, not social issues affecting us all. We cannot enter into a national dialogue while we are unemployed. The president cannot call for a national dialogue with patriots and youths, while they are in these circumstances."

Bin Suleiman confirmed that protests will continue until the demands of the people are met.

Tunisia has experienced a severe political crisis since Saied introduced his "exceptional measures" last year. They included the suspension (and then dissolution) of parliament, the dismissal of the prime minister and government, the issue of legislation by presidential decree, and the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Opposition groups regard these measures to be a "coup against the constitution", while Saied's supporters see them as a "correction of the course of the 2011 revolution" which toppled former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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