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Tunisia: Hundreds rally towards President Kais Saied amid grinding financial disaster

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Hundreds of Tunisians marched Saturday within the capital to protest towards President Kais Saied, whom they accuse of in search of to put in a brand new dictatorship amid a worsening financial disaster.

Separate rallies by totally different opposition teams had been held in Tunis with a heavy police presence, AFP correspondents stated.

Held on the twelfth anniversary of the autumn of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, they arrive towards a backdrop of deepening political divisions and deteriorating financial situations within the North African nation.

“The individuals need what you don’t need. Down with Saied,” chanted protesters on the major demonstration, organised by Tunisia’s largest opposition power the Nationwide Salvation Entrance (FSN), which incorporates Saied’s nemesis the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha social gathering.

Ennahdha had dominated parliament till Saied launched a dramatic energy seize on July 25, 2021, sacking the federal government and freezing parliament earlier than appointing a brand new cupboard and ruling by decree.

Tunisians who largely supported Saied’s 2021 takeover have turn out to be more and more fed up with rising inflation and poverty, which now impacts some 20 % of the nation’s 12 million inhabitants, in response to the federal government.

“The coup has introduced us famine and poverty. Yesterday the grocery store gave me only one kilo of macaroni and a can of milk,” stated Nouha, a lady on the major protest, amid shortages of primary items.

“How can I feed my household of 13 individuals with that?” the 50-year-old housewife lamented.

Protesters at a separate left-wing march not far-off denounced Saied’s “authoritarian drift”, which they are saying threatens the one democracy to have emerged from the Arab Spring revolts.

Some chanted slogans echoing the messages of the 2011 rebellion and demanded “work”, AFP correspondents stated, as unemployment hovers above 15 %.

– ‘Insufferable shortages’ –

Omar, 27, an unemployed former Saied supporter on the major Nationwide Salvation Entrance rally, stated the president had “betrayed” Tunisians.

“And right here is the end result: an financial disaster, insufferable shortages, no milk in our fridges,” stated Omar, who requested to be recognized by his first title solely.

Because the cash-strapped Tunisian state, which has a monopoly on sure imports, has confronted problem bringing in primary items, Tunisians have endured shortages of merchandise together with espresso, milk and sugar.

Struggling beneath debt price round 80 % of its gross home product, Tunisia reached an settlement in precept with the Worldwide Financial Fund in mid-October for a bailout package deal price round $2 billion, however it’s nonetheless awaiting closing approval.

One other march on Saturday, attended by a whole lot of individuals, was led by Abir Moussi of the anti-Islamist opposition Free Destourian Social gathering.

“Saied’s regime” is answerable for the financial disaster, Moussi informed the group, calling for his resignation.

A former legislation professor and political outsider, Saied in 2019 turned Tunisia’s second democratically elected president since Ben Ali’s ouster.