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25.07.2021 Tunisia

Tunisian protesters march against government

By AFP
A Tunisian protester waves the national flag at an anti-government rally in front of parliament in Tunis on Sunday.  By FETHI BELAID (AFP)
LISTEN JUL 25, 2021
A Tunisian protester waves the national flag at an anti-government rally in front of parliament in Tunis on Sunday. By FETHI BELAID (AFP)

Thousands of Tunisians marched in several cities protesting against the ruling party Sunday, criticising what they said was government failures in the North African nation amid crippling coronavirus rates.

In the capital Tunis, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of parliament, shouting slogans against the Islamist-inspired ruling Ennahdha party and Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.

"The people want the dissolution of parliament," the crowd chanted.

Several protesters were arrested and a journalist was injured when the crowd hurled stones and police fired tear gas canisters, an AFP reporter said.

Tunisia has been overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases, including more than 18,000 people who have died in a country of around 12 million.

Protests were also reported in the towns of Gafsa, Kairouan, Monastir, Sousse and Tozeur.

Despite a decade passing since the 2011 revolution which overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia remains prone to chronic political turmoil that has stymied efforts to revive crumbling public services.

The country's fractious political class has been unable to form lasting, effective governments.

Since President Kais Saied was elected in 2019, he has been locked in a showdown with Mechichi and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

Their rivalry has blocked ministerial appointments and diverted resources away from tackling Tunisia's many economic and social problems.

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