News   /   North Africa

Tunisia's rival opposition groups rally against president

Tunisians carry signs and flags during a protest against President Kais Saied, in Tunis, Tunisia, October 15, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands of Tunisians have taken to the streets to protest against President Kais Saied, accusing him of economic mismanagement amid fuel and food shortages in the North African nation.

The country’s two rival opposition groups held parallel rallies in adjacent areas of the capital, Tunis, on Saturday, calling the president “a failed dictator.”

The opposition groups, the Islamist Ennahda Party and the Free Constitutional Party, have long been bitter foes. However, both are now focused on their struggle against Saied.

“Tunisia is bleeding. Saied is a failed dictator. He has set us back for many years. The game's over. Get out," said protester Henda Ben Ali.

At both rallies, protesters chanted "the people want the fall of the regime," the slogan of the 2011 revolution.

Saied moved to rule by decree after shutting down parliament last year and later expanded his powers with a new constitution passed in a July referendum.

His opponents say his actions have undermined the democracy secured through a 2011 revolution that ousted former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab spring.

The country is struggling to make ends meet as a crisis in state finances has contributed to shortages of subsidized goods, including petrol, sugar and milk on top of years of economic malaise and entrenched unemployment.

The president, however, has blamed hoarders and speculators for the shortages, saying the measures by his government were needed to save Tunisia from years of crisis.

In a speech on Saturday to commemorate the departure of French troops upon Tunisia's 1956 independence, he demanded the departure today of "all who want to undermine independence.”

Tunisia has been gripped by a political crisis since the president dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended parliament for 30 days in July 2021.

Saied said at the time that his decision was meant to “save Tunisia, the state, and the Tunisian people,” in the midst of growing public anger and protests against the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His opponents have slammed the move as a “coup,” while rights groups have warned that the country could be sliding back into autocracy.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku