March 06, 2023

Thousands Protest Tunisia President’s Hateful Words

Despite an official ban on protest activity, thousands gathered in Tunisia’s capital city, Tunis, on Saturday, 4 March, to demonstrate against President Kais Saied.

Almost 300 people have fled the country since Saied claimed that migrants were behind most of the crime in the North African country and ordered officials to take “urgent measures” to tackle the issue last month.

However, many Tunisians don’t share their president’s beliefs and have urged him to retract his comments.

Several protestors held placards declaring “Stop racism and xenophobia” and “no to hate speech and discrimination”, while members of the Tunisian General Labour Union could be heard chanting “Saied is a coward, the union is not afraid” and “Freedom! End the police state.”

In 2021, Saied fired prime minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended parliament and pushed through a constitution enabling a one-man rule, giving himself executive control of the country and its army.

The protestors have also demanded the release of detained critics who have been publicly vocal against Saied’s political standpoint.

Included amongst the detainees are a radio talk show host, a prominent businessman, two judges, a former diplomat, and an opposition politician who were all arrested in the middle of February.

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