The President of Tunisia announced the adjournment of the Tunisian Parliament and the removal of Prime Minister Hicham Mecic. Violent protest Due to the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic and the economy, several cities in Tunisia broke out.
President Keith Said said on Sunday that he will take over executive power with the assistance of the new prime minister. This poses the biggest challenge to date for the 2014 constitution, which divides power among the president, prime minister and parliament.
“Many people are deceived by hypocrisy, betrayal and plundering of people’s rights,” he said in a statement published in official media.
“I warn anyone who wants to use a weapon… No matter who shoots, the armed forces will respond with bullets,” he added.
He stated in the statement that his actions were in line with the Constitution and that the immunity of parliamentarians was suspended.
After thousands of Tunisians marched in several cities and issued a statement after an emergency meeting in his palace, most of the anger was concentrated on the Baath Party, the largest party in the parliament.
The Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament, Rashid Ganucci, accused President Said of launching a “coup d’etat against the revolution and the constitution.”
“We think these institutions still exist, and Ennahda’s supporters and the Tunisian people will defend the revolution,” Ennahda’s head Ghannouchi told Reuters by phone.
As the country is struggling to cope with the economic crisis, imminent fiscal austerity and Unresponsive To the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Saeed and Parliament were elected in 2019 by different general elections, and Mecici took office last year, replacing another short-lived government.
Tunisian journalist Rabeb Aloui told Al Jazeera that Said’s actions were not surprising because he had threatened to dissolve the parliament and fire the prime minister.
“Since last September, we have (always) been living in a political crisis,” Aloui said.
She said many young Tunisians, especially those who protested on Sunday, were happy with the announcement.
Aloui added that the demonstrators also called for social and economic reforms, but these issues still need to be resolved.
“We are indeed living under an economic crisis, and so is a health crisis [from] Coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
Tunisia has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. There are approximately 12 million people in the country and more than 18,000 people have died from the disease.
Earlier on Sunday, thousands of people defied the virus restrictions and the extreme heat and staged demonstrations in the Tunisian capital and other cities. The predominantly young crowd chanted “Get out!” and slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections.
The protest was launched by a new organization called the July 25th Movement on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence.
Security forces were deployed, especially in Tunisia, where the police blocked all streets leading to the capital Bourguiba Avenue. This avenue was a key location for the Tunisian revolution ten years ago, which overthrew the dictatorship and triggered the Arab Spring uprising.
Police are also deployed around the parliament to prevent demonstrators from entering.
In Tunisia on Sunday, the police used pepper spray on protesters who threw stones and chanted slogans, demanding that Prime Minister Mecic step down and dissolve the parliament.
Witnesses claimed that the protesters rushed into or tried to rush into Ennahda’s offices in Monastir, Sfax, Elkhev and Sousse, while in Tuzer they set fire to the party’s local headquarters.
Ennahda was banned before the revolution and has been the most successful political party since 2011 and a member of previous coalition governments.