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Tunisian police crack down on anti-Saied demonstration

Tunisian police used pepper spray to disperse protesters and arrested several on Friday as hundreds rallied against President Kais Saied, three days before a controversial vote on a new constitution. More than 300 people gathered on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in central Tunis, surrounded by a heavy police presence with water cannons and riot gear. At least 10 protesters were arrested, two police sources said. The protest came as Tunisians prepare to vote Monday on a draft constitution that would enshrine the sweeping powers Saied has wielded since he dismissed the government and suspended parliament on July 25. His decision was a decisive blow against the crisis-ridden political system in Tunisia, the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab uprisings, and his rivals say his constitution aims to restore an autocracy. Some demonstrators carried placards with slogans such as "the constitution will not pass" and "Said the dictator". One of them said "We (the Tunisian people) have not written anything", referring to Saied's draft charter.

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