TUNIS, Tunisia — Thousands of Tunisians gathered near the country’s parliament today to protest a presidential power grab they have deemed a “coup.”
It’s the latest rally opposing Tunisian President Kais Saied’s July 25 decision to sack the government, suspend parliament and seize an array of powers, citing an “imminent threat” to the country — the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings against autocracy.
More than 3,000 protesters gathered, shouting “The people want to bring down the coup d’etat” and “Kais’s project is a civil war” and branding the president an “agent of colonialism,” AFP correspondents report.
Some demonstrators carried signs reading “No to the intimidation of the media” and demanding “an independent judicial authority.”
The protesters “shut down all the streets, the avenues, the motorways,” says Jawhar Ben Mbarek, a figure of the Tunisian left.
“After shutting down the state, Saied has shut down the institutions, the constitution. He has shut down the country,” he charges.
Social media users share images of police using cars and minivans to block protesters from reaching the suburb of Bardo, where the parliament building is located.