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Tunisia: president causes controversy with 'chemotherapy against cancerous' opposition comment

Tunisian President Kais Saied [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian President Kais Saied [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian President Kais Saied has sparked widespread controversy due to his comment in which he described his opponents as a "cancer", saying that only "chemotherapy" would work against them.

"The state is ravaged by corruption, and the Tunisian people will purify all institutions from the cancer that is rampant in the country," said Saied when launching a project in the south-east state of Gabes. "They want to abuse the people, and talk about the absence of basic goods such as sugar and coffee, even though they are present in abundance. These cancerous cells that want to strike the country must be treated with chemotherapy to eliminate them."

Tunisians interacted with the video clip of the president's speech on social media. A number have expressed their dissatisfaction with the terms used by Saied.

"After threats of purges and liquidation," tweeted Chaima Issa of the National Salvation Front, "the president is now threatening the opposition with chemotherapy."

Saied typically attacks opponents using labels such as "drunks", "insects" and "devils". He regularly accuses them of plotting against the country and calling for foreign intervention.

Last week, he called on the leaders of the National Guard to "confront those who conspired against the state." Saied stressed that, " The enemies of the state and the enemies of the homeland cannot be spared accountability," but he did not name anyone specifically.

READ: Tunisia Labour Union accuses President of fear-mongering

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