Tunisia President Accused Of Coup After Ousting Premier

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – Tunisia plunged into the worst social unrest in years Monday, with the main political parties accusing the president of staging a coup.

Tunisian President Kais Saied sacked the defense minister Monday, a day after ousting the prime minister and suspending parliament.

Street clashes erupted Monday outside the army-barricaded parliament amid questions about the future of the North African country’s young democracy.

In a controversial move, Tunisian police stormed the bureau of broadcaster Al Jazeera bureau in the capital Tunis.

The network said security forces had expelled all staff after at least 20 heavily armed plainclothes police officers entered the office on Monday.

The president also closed parliament for 30 days, a move the most significant political party Ennahdha decried as a “coup.”


Saied declared on Sunday he had “taken the necessary decisions to save Tunisia, the state, and the Tunisian people,” following street protests. The demonstrators in multiple cities were against the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic in the country amid economic hardship.

The recent spike in COVID cases contributed to public frustration. The health minister was sacked last week after a reported bungled vaccination drive.

President Saied, an independent who was elected in 2019, has long-standing tensions with the man he has removed, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. Mechichi has the backing of the largest party in parliament, Ennahda, who observers view as moderate Islamists.

Tunisia’s revolution in 2011 is often held up as the sole success of the Arab Spring revolts across the region. But it has not led to stability economically or politically, commentators say.

Calls were growing Monday from the international community for restraint.
The United Nations said, “all disputes… should be resolved through dialogue.”Separately the European Union urged all sides involved to respect the rule of law and avoid violence.

There were similar appeals from the Arab League, Russia, and Qatar. The United States expressed its concern about the latest developments.

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