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Tunisia: Hundreds protest detention of president critics

Tunisian demonstrators including Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, president of the National Salvation Front coalition, held signs with images of the detainees on April 9, 2023.   -  
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Some 300 demonstrators from opposition parties waved Tunisian flags and carried signs with the images of detainees at the rally organised by the main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front.

Since early February, authorities in the North African country have arrested more than 20 political opponents and personalities including politicians, former ministers, businessmen, trade unionists and the owner of Tunisia's most popular radio station, Mosaique FM.

Local and international rights groups have criticised the arrests.

At Sunday's (Apr.09) rally, Samir Ben Amor, an official with the Al-Joumhouri (Republican) party, called for a "national dialogue in order to draw up a roadmap to save Tunisia and return to the democratic path".

Saied, who has seized almost total power since he froze parliament and sacked Tunisia's government in July 2021, claims those arrested were "terrorists" involved in a "conspiracy against state security".

Opponents accuse him of reinstating autocratic rule in the North African country which seemed to be the sole democracy to have emerged from the Arab Spring uprisings in the Mena region over a decade ago.

British-based Amnesty International last month said authorities should release the detainees arrested on "unfounded accusations".

The political situation in Tunisia comes alongside mounting debt and cost of living crisis.

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