Mass protest calls for end to 'Saied coup' in Tunisia

Mass protest calls for end to 'Saied coup' in Tunisia
“O’ people, revolt against the coup” and “no to the dictator” were among the chants heard in the heart of the Tunisian capital city, where protesters demanded an end to Saied's coup.

2 min read
20 June, 2022
Demonstrators called for the end of Saied's coup [Getty]

Thousands of protesters have flocked to the streets in Tunisia to call for an end to what they describe as President Kais Saied’s coup.

Demonstrations gathered at the Republic Square before marching through the capital Tunis on Sunday, in a rally that brought together prominent rights activists and political figures.


Saied is seeking to overhaul the constitution to give the presidency more powers, against the backdrop of a tanking economy and fears of a public finance crisis. He intends to put the new constitution to a referendum on July 25.

Saied has appointed a new electoral commission, casting doubts over the credibility of any vote.

He has also appointed a temporary judicial council and sacked dozens of judges. His supporters say he is standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation. However Tunisia's main political parties have said they will boycott the referendum, and the powerful UGTT labour union has refused to take part in talks on the new constitution.

Earlier this week, a top Tunisian judicial source revealed a fresh purge of 400 Tunisian judges is being prepared ahead of Saied’s constitutional referendum.

“There is a list of 400 members of the judiciary that have been lined up for removal after the referendum on 25 July,” said Mourad al-Masoudi in an interview with Arabi21.

Al-Masoudi, head of the Young Tunisian Judges’ Association, pledged that “members of the judiciary are committed to defending the role of justice, and remain firm in preserving the independence of the judiciary in the face of abuse of executive power.”

The news comes in the wake of a three-week strike by Tunisian judges after President Kais Saied dismissed 57 of them on 1 June, accusing the judicial branch of extensive corruption, cover-ups and protecting terrorist suspects.

On Saturday, bodies representing the judiciary announced a further week of strikes, culminating in a ‘day of rage’ - the date of which is yet to be announced.