Hundreds of Tunisians join street protests over economic crisis

© Fethi Belaid, AFP

Hundreds of Tunisians marched Saturday after opponents of President Kais Saied called for protests over a worsening economic crisis.

"The people want what you don't want. Down with Saied," chanted the activists, including supporters of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party.

Ennahdha had dominated parliament until Saied launched a dramatic power grab on July 25, 2021, sacking the government and freezing parliament before appointing a new cabinet and ruling by decree.

"The coup has brought us famine and poverty. Yesterday the grocer gave me just one kilo of macaroni and a can of milk," said Nouha, a woman at one protest.

"How can I feed my family of 13 people with that?" the 50-year-old housewife lamented.

Saturday's protests were staged in the capital Tunis by two different opposition groups and were held far apart with a heavy police presence to avoid any unrest.

They were held against a backdrop of deepening political divisions on the 12th anniversary of the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The biggest opposition force, the National Salvation Front (FSN) which includes Ennahdha, was kept about one kilometre from left-wing party activists gathered in front of the municipal theatre.

Another march attended by hundreds of people was led by Abir Moussi of the anti-Islamist opposition Free Destourian Party, in the south of Carthage, where the presidential palace is located.


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