thousands of protesters against President Saied and the shortages

IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES – Tunisians, who had largely supported Kais Saied’s coup, are increasingly unhappy with the deterioration of their living conditions.

Thousands of people demonstrated this Saturday, January 14 in Tunis against the concentration of power in the hands of President Kais Saied, a discontent amplified by shortages and an economic crisis, 12 years after the fall of dictator Ben Ali. The watchword of the main demonstration, organized by the National Salvation Front (FSN, opposition), was the denunciation of a “Rebellionled by Kais Saied on July 25, 2021. But many demonstrators said they had also come to protest against the deterioration of their economic conditions.

The coup brought famine and poverty back to us. Yesterday, the grocer gave me just 1 kilo of macaroni and a liter of milk. How can I feed my family of 13 with this“, denounced to AFP Nouha, 50, housewife, who was demonstrating with the FSN.

The watchword of the main demonstration, organized by the National Salvation Front (FSN, opposition), was the denunciation of a “Rebellionconducted by Kais Saied on July 25, 2021. FETHI BELAID / AFP

People want what you don’t want. Down with Saied. Get out, get outchanted activists, including many supporters of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, which dominated Parliament before Kais Saied seized all power in the summer of 2021.

Judging the country ungovernable, Kais Saied then sacked his Prime Minister and froze Parliament. Since then, he has appointed a government but runs the country by decree. He also has reformed the Constitution this summer to strengthen its powers to the detriment of Parliament, dissolved in early 2022. A decried legislative election is underway to elect an Assembly that will be devoid of real powers.

Despite similar objectives, the opposition parties did not form a united front at all on Saturday, with rallies in three different points of the capital.

Despite similar objectives, the opposition parties did not form a united front at all on Saturday, with rallies in three different points of the capital. FETHI BELAID / AFP

At the end of the morning, a thousand FSN protesters forced security barriers to march towards the symbolic Bourguiba Avenue before a tense face-to-face with the police forces, present in large numbers.

Tunisians, who had largely supported Kais Saied’s coup, are growing increasingly unhappy with their deteriorating living conditions. FETHI BELAID / AFP

Tunisians, who had largely supported Kais Saied’s coup, are increasingly unhappy with the deterioration of their living conditions, with inflation above 10% affecting their purchasing power, and the poverty which affects 20% of the 12 million inhabitants. As the highly indebted state has struggled to finance the importation of basic products for which it is responsible, shortages of milk, sugar, coffee and recently pasta are chronic.

Some activists brandished chopsticks while denouncing a “authoritarian driftby Kais Saied. FETHI BELAID / AFP

In a protest by left-wing parties downtown, some activists brandished chopsticks while denouncing a “authoritarian driftby Kais Saied, while others echoed one of the slogans of the 2011 Revolution, calling for “workin the face of an unemployment rate above 15%.

At the same time, another procession crisscrossed Tunis and its suburbs on the initiative of Abir Moussi, the leader of the Free Destourian Party, an anti-Islamist movement and nostalgic for President Habib Bourguiba, the hero of independence in 1956.

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