The “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative in Tunisia accused, on Saturday, the country’s authorities of obstructing the arrival of citizens to the capital to participate in the protests against President Kais Saied, which it called for on Sunday.
This was stated by the activist member of the initiative and professor of Tunisian constitutional law, Jawhar Bin Mubarak, during a press conference in the capital, Tunis.
The initiative called for a protest sit-in on Sunday in Bardo Square, opposite the parliament headquarters in the capital, Tunis, in order to end the “arbitrary state of exception” and in defense of “constitutional and parliamentary legitimacy.”
Bin Mubarak said: “We have been informed that the authorities are harassing (restricting) travel agencies (transport means) in order to prevent male and female citizens from coming to the capital to participate in tomorrow’s protests.”
He held “the existing authority responsible for the disruption that began on Friday for everyone who wants to reach Tunis to participate in Sunday’s protests.”
Bin Mubarak added: “These are methods we were used to in the era of tyranny (in reference to the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) and we said that they ended ten years ago, but they return today to respond to everyone who claims that Tunisia is a coup that respects rights and freedoms.”
And he further added: “The coup authority (in reference to the ruling authority in the country) is adopting repressive methods against demonstrations and restricting freedom of expression.”
Bin Mubarak continued: “Despite all the restrictions, our movement will be peaceful and using democratic tools in order to overthrow the coup and the victory for the values of freedom (..), we want them despite all this, peaceful movements that call for the return of legitimacy and defend the democratic initiative.”
For his part, human rights activist and member of the “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative, Lamine Bouazizi, called during the same conference, “all anti-coup and those involved in the battle to return to constitutional legitimacy to reach Bardo Square on Sunday and participate in the vigil.”
He stressed that “the movement will be a station to say that democracy is our method in confronting the coup, and we are the ones who adhere to the constitution.”
Mohamed Bouazizi added: “Tomorrow our stand will be to activate and adhere to the constitution to confront those who violated it and assaulted the citizens’ right to choose their rulers, hold them accountable and monitor them.”
The Tunisian authorities did not issue an immediate comment on the accusations of the “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative.
The “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative, consisting of activists, human rights defenders, and citizens, was established in conjunction with Saied’s announcement of these “exceptional” measures; as a rejection of it.
Since last July 25, Tunisia has been witnessing a political crisis when its president, Kais Saied, began taking exceptional measures, including freezing the competencies of Parliament, lifting the immunity of its deputies, abolishing the constitutionality monitoring body, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, presiding over the Public Prosecution, dismissing the Prime Minister, and forming others. New appointed as its chief.
The majority of political forces in Tunisia reject Saied’s exceptional decisions, and consider them a “coup against the constitution“, while other forces support them and see them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution”, which overthrew the then president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
And during the past September and October, the Tunisian capital witnessed protest movements, in which thousands participated, to denounce the decisions of Said, who began in 2019 a 5-year presidential term.