Tunisian President Kais Saied said that his country “refuses interference in its internal affairs because it is not under mandate or guardianship”.
This came during a speech on Monday, during Saied’s visit to the city of Kairouan (Centre), according to a video posted by the Tunisian presidency’s Facebook account.
“We will protect our national sovereignty and reject those who interfere in our affairs again because we are not under mandate, nor under any kind of guardianship, “said Saied.
“We will not give up our sovereignty to anyone, and many have paid for their freedoms in prisons in order for Tunisia to be free and independent, “ he added.
The Tunisian President’s remarks come days after a statement issued by the European Parliament, in which it expressed “deep concern about the authoritarian transformation of President Saied and his exploitation of the poor socio-economic situation in Tunisia to reverse the country’s historic democratic transition”.
The European Parliament urged the Tunisian authorities to release all “arbitrarily detained and respect freedom of expression” and called for an end to what it described as the “ongoing crackdown on civil society in the country”.
In his speech, the Tunisian President stated: “today we celebrate the anniversary of independence, and I chose to be today in the city of Aghlaba in Kairouan because the national liberation movement began with a meeting at the mosque of Uqba Ben Nafi among tribal leaders.
On Monday, Tunisia marked the 67th anniversary of independence from the French occupation (1881-1956), which is celebrated on March 20 every year.
“Tunisia is witnessing today a national liberation war against corruption to beat the corrupt and unpatriotic relentlessly and irreversibly,” said Saied.
“I say to all Tunisians that we will not compromise our sovereignty and dignity; we will work to achieve the demands of our people and we will continue the fight against the corrupt and conspirators, “ he added.
Since 11 February, the Tunisian authorities have carried out a campaign of arrests that included party leaders, judges, a businessman, a lawyer and an activist, and Saied accused some of those arrested of “conspiring against state security and standing behind the crises of distribution of goods and rising prices”.
The Tunisian President has repeatedly stressed the independence of the judicial authorities, but the opposition accuses him of using the judiciary to prosecute those who reject exceptional measures that began to be imposed on 25 July, 2021, creating an acute political crisis.