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Protests in Tunisia mark two years since presidential power grab

Members of the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild pose for a photo while walking a picket line outside of Warner Bros. in New York on July 13, 2023.   -  
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Over 300 people rallied in Tunis on Tuesday to mark the two-year anniversary of President Kais Saied’s adoption of sweeping powers by suspension of Parliament.

Members of the opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, took to the streets to ask the released of some 20 detained figures of the party, alongside media and business figures charged for conspiracy against state security.

"It is the culmination of a multifaceted failure in all areas, be it constitutional, legal, institutional, economic, social or human rights, and everything related to freedoms, control and the use of the judicial power and management of the files of political opponents. In recent months, it (these failures) has had a very strong impact on the lives of citizens through the interruption of water and electricity, and the scarcity of necessities," explained Samir Dilou, Vice President of the National Salvation Front. 

Former minister Lazhar Akremi and Chaima Issa were released earlier this month, but others remain in custody despite the appeals of numerous human rights groups, such as Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda party.

"This is a political crisis which is characterized by the presence of political prisoners, party leaders and a speaker of parliament in prison. This is the state of the system and what it has brought upon us. A return to the establishment of a system of fear through political arrests, as well as by Circular 54, which restricts freedom of expression and also attacks the freedom of the media. This is what the July 25 regime has achieved in its two years of rule," shares Imed Khemiri, spokesperson for Ennahdha member of the National Salvation Front.

The balance sheet of the past two years leaves much to be desired.

While the parliament was engaged in incessant jousting, the economy collapsed, leading to inflation, declining growth, an exodus of investors and shortages of essential items.

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