(Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by zimdaily)
TUNISIA – Thousands of Tunisian opposition supporters demonstrated Sunday in the capital against President Kais Saied’s power grab and the economic crisis in the North African country. “Poverty has increased”, and “Famine is at our doorsteps”, they chanted as at least 2,000 people gathered in the city centre. Protesters held up signs in English and French, reading “Tunisia wake up” and “Tunisian state is on the verge of collapse”.
Saied last July sacked the government, suspended parliament and moved to rule by decree, sparking fears for democracy in the birthplace of the 2011 Arab uprisings.
The latest demonstration was called by the Free Destourian Party which is led by staunchly anti-Islamist lawyer Abir Moussi.
“The government today is incapable of finding solutions for the Tunisian people… If we continue in silence, we will lose the country,” Moussi said in a speech during the demonstration.
She branded Tunisia’s current executive as “illegitimate” and called for legislative elections to be brought forward from their scheduled date of December.
Bearing a portrait of Moussi, protester Youssef Jabali told AFP: “Saied, the dictator, is shut off in his palace and the people can’t find semolina, flour, oil or sugar.”
Already plunged in economic crisis, Tunisia has in recent weeks seen a shortage of staple foods, as the war in Ukraine threatens to interrupt key supplies to various Arab countries.
The authorities have attributed the shortages to panic buying ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, starting this year in April, when Muslims traditionally break a dawn-to-dusk fast with lavish family meals.
Saied on Wednesday declared a “relentless war” on food speculators and profiteers, accusing them of seeking to “strike at social peace and security”.