Tunisia opposition groups call for counter-protests against president Kais Saied

Tunisia opposition groups call for counter-protests against president Kais Saied
Tunisian opposition groups including the newly-formed National Salvation Front are urging demonstrators to rally against President Kais Saied on Sunday, in response to his latest power-grabbing moves.
2 min read
11 May, 2022
Tunisians have regularly rallied against Kais Saied, whose seizure of powers have been labelled as a 'coup' by critics [Getty]

Tunisian opposition activists are calling for rallies against President Kais Saied, on Sunday in the capital Tunis, reported Arabi 21.

The "Citizens Against the Coup" and the newly-established "National Salvation Front" groups are planning to stage the demonstrations in protest of Saied’s continued power grab, which has plunged Tunisia into a deep political crisis.

This is the first move of its kind by the National Salvation Front, formed last month with the stated aim of "saving" the country from Saied’s rule and restoring legitimacy and democracy, according to founder Ahmed Nejib Chebbi.

Chebbi is a veteran left-wing politician who opposed previous ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted during the Tunisian revolution in 2011.

The National Salvation Front is formed of five political parties - including the Islamist-inspired Ennahda party - and five civil society groups involving independent political figures.

The Front is calling for the holding of a national dialogue, new legislative and presidential elections, and the formation of a salvation government.

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A member of the Front’s committee, senior Ennahda member Mohamed El Qoumani, told Arabi 21 that the organisation "did not appear out of nowhere, but after consultations between various parties since the coup nine months ago. The Ennahda Movement appreciates this initiative, and will work to make it a success".

Sunday's planned demonstration will contrast starkly with last Sunday’s rally in support of Saied, where protesters demanded the prosecution of the "corrupt" politicians that Saied has blamed for his country's recent ills.

Saied dismissed the government and suspended parliament in July last year, in what was widely branded a coup. He has seized a wide range of powers since.

Last month, the president issued a decree granting him the right to appoint the president and members of the country’s new electoral commission.