Tensions in Tunisia after president suspends parliament

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TUNIS – Troops surrounded Tunisia's parliament and blocked its talker from entering Monday aft the president suspended the legislature and fired the premier curate pursuing nationwide protests implicit the country’s economical troubles and coronavirus crisis.

Protesters celebrated President Kais Saied’s determination precocious Sunday nighttime with shouts of joy, honking horns and waving Tunisian flags. But his critics accused him of a powerfulness drawback that threatens Tunisia’s young democracy, and the North African country's overseas allies expressed concern.

Police intervened Monday to forestall clashes extracurricular the parliament gathering betwixt lawmakers from Islamist enactment Ennahdha, which dominates the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of Tunisia, and demonstrators supporting the president. Both sides shouted and immoderate stones were thrown, according to an Associated Press newsman and videos circulating online.

Security forces besides moved successful Monday connected the Tunis offices of broadcaster Al Jazeera, ordering it to unopen down, according to a connection by the Qatar-based web connected its Facebook page. The crushed for the determination was not instantly clear.


The dissolution of parliament had been among demands of thousands of protesters who defied microorganism restrictions and scorching vigor to show Sunday successful the capital, Tunis, and different cities. The mostly young crowds shouted “Get out!” and slogans calling for aboriginal elections, and besides pushed for economical reforms. Clashes erupted successful galore places.

Tunisia’s system has been struggling for years, and the state precocious reimposed lockdowns and different microorganism restrictions due to the fact that it’s facing 1 of Africa’s worst microorganism outbreaks.

The president said helium had to occurrence the premier curate and suspend parliament due to the fact that of concerns implicit nationalist violence.

“We person taken these decisions...until societal bid returns to Tunisia and until we prevention the state,” helium said successful a military-style televised address.

The parliament speaker, Ennahdha enactment person Rached Ghannouchi, tried to participate parliament overnight but constabulary and subject forces guarding the tract stopped him. On Monday morning, Ghannouchi was parked successful a car successful beforehand of the building. His adjacent steps were unclear.


He called the president's determination “a coup against the constitution and the (Arab Spring) revolution," and insisted the parliament would proceed to work.

Saied defended his decision, saying successful a connection Monday that helium acted according to the law.

Saied visited protesters overnight connected the capital's main thoroughfare, Avenue Bourguiba, the epicenter of wide demonstrations that pushed retired Tunisia's autocratic person successful 2011 and ushered successful uprisings astir the Arab world.

He warned against immoderate breach of nationalist order, threatening terrible penalties.

The president invoked an nonfiction of Tunisia’s Constitution allowing him to instrumentality “exceptional measures successful the lawsuit of imminent information threatening the institutions of the federation and the independency of the state and hindering the regular functioning of the nationalist powers.”

The measurement allows him to presume enforcement powerfulness and frost parliament for an unspecified play of clip until mean organization workings tin beryllium restored. But Ghannouchi said the president didn’t consult with him and the premier curate arsenic required by the article. The 3 person been successful conflict.


Others besides criticized the president’s decision, some wrong and extracurricular Tunisia.

Former President Moncef Marzouki called for governmental dialogue, saying successful a Facebook video, “We made a immense leap backward tonight, we are backmost to dictatorship.”

In a written statement, EU Commission spokesperson Nabila Massrali said Monday, “We telephone connected each Tunisian actors to respect the Constitution, its institutions and the regularisation of law. We besides telephone connected them to stay calm and to debar immoderate edifice to unit successful bid to sphere the stableness of the country.”

Turkey’s authorities said it was “deeply concerned” by the suspension of the Tunisian parliament’s activities and said it hoped that “democratic legitimacy” is soon restored.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry connection called Tunisia an “exemplary occurrence communicative successful presumption of the antiauthoritarian process" and said it was imperative that its “democratic achievements” are preserved. Tunisia's 2011 revolt is often regarded arsenic the lone occurrence communicative of the Arab Spring protests.



Associated Press journalists Mehdi El Arem successful Tunis, Jon Gambrell successful Dubai, Lorne Cook successful Brussels and Suzan Fraser successful Ankara contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This worldly whitethorn not beryllium published, broadcast, rewritten oregon redistributed without permission.

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