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Tunisia: Protesters take to streets calling for end to president Saied's rule

Demonstrators defy riot police in protest at President Kais Saied's continuing power grab
Tunisians raise placards and national flags as they take to the streets of the capital Tunis to protest against their president, on 10 April 2022 (AFP)

Hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets on Sunday in protest against an ongoing power grab by President Kais Saied, and his proposed constitutional reforms.

Tunisia: President dissolves parliament after it votes online to reject his power grab
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Demonstrations in the capital Tunis were organised by the largest parliamentary party Ennahda and a movement named Citizens Against the Coup.

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Amid rising public anger against the political class last year, on 25 July, Saied sacked the government, froze the parliament, and seized wide-ranging powers.

He later gave himself powers to rule and legislate by decree and seized control over the judiciary.

"The people want to dismiss the president," the crowds chanted, many waving national flags. "Down with the coup."

Protesters accused Saied of imposing one-man rule in the North African country when he dissolved parliament last month after more than half of the members of parliament held an online session to revoke his decrees.

Anti-terrorism police had summoned the main opposition figure Rached Ghannouchi - who is the parliament's speaker and head of Ennahda - alongside other lawmakers for questioning following the online session,

But Ghannouchi said other virtual sessions would be convened.

"There is no democracy without legislative power," shouted other protesters, who defied a large deployment of riot police to take to the streets.

Saied has been repeatedly criticised by Western governments and rights groups for his moves, which have sparked fears of a return to autocracy 11 years after the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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