Tunisians seeks return of democracy


TUNIS, TUNISIA: Political parties and civil society groups continue to reject President Kais Saied’s “monopoly of power”, demanding the right to decide their country’s future amid a worsening socioeconomic situation.
Hundreds of Tunisians rallied in the capital on Friday to mark the 11th anniversary of the uprising that unseated former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, defying a ban on public gatherings imposed by the government to counter the rapid spread of COVID-19.
The ban came just two days before demonstrations called by major political parties and national figures against the exceptional measures President Saied took on July 25 – a move decried by critics as aimed at stopping the protests.
On what had been Revolution Day until last year – now officially observed on December 17 as decreed by the president – groups of protesters gathered in various locations across central Tunis after security units blocked all main roads leading to Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the renowned focal point of the 2011 revolution.
In spite of the heavy police presence, the country’s main political parties, civil society organisations, lawmakers, lawyers, and activists demonstrated.
“The political elite is trying to state its presence in the public sphere in an act of resistance against the president’s intent to monopolise the political process,” Tarek Kahlaoui, a Tunisian political analyst, told Al Jazeera following Friday’s demonstrations.
On Mohamed V Avenue, partisans of the moderate Islamist Ennahdha party assembled alongside members of the Citizens against the Coup campaign.
The Ennahdha movement, which held the largest number of seats in the now-frozen parliament, has been at the lead of the opposition parties protesting the suspension of parliament by Saied, his seizure of governing powers, and plans to amend the constitution, which they call a coup. Those measures were reinforced by a presidential decree on September 22.
“We are not ready to go back to a monopoly of all power, to be under one-man rule or one-party governance,” a leading member of Ennahdha, Gafsi, who did not give his real name, told Al Jazeera at the rally on Mohamed V.
“We won’t give up the political freedoms we gained from the revolution,” he added, slamming Saied’s concentration of decision-making power and control over the judiciary. –Agencies