Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda, called for a “coup” and called on supporters of the Islamist party and “the Tunisian people” to “defend the revolution”.
Thousands defied the ban and rallied in Tunisia and other major cities.
According to two eyewitnesses quoted by Reuters news agency, citizens gathered outside the parliament building cheering as military vehicles surrounded the parliament and began to sing the Tunisian national anthem.
The protesters demanded the dissolution of the Parliament and the holding of early elections. Violent incidents took place with the police using tear gas and making arrests.
The revolution of 2011, the first of the so-called Arab Spring, had led to the ousting of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, putting Tunisia on the path to democratization, which it continued to pursue despite many challenges, both social and in terms of security.
The President also announced the lifting of the immunity of Members of Parliament and promised that those involved in criminal cases would be prosecuted.
Prime Minister Masisi had not reacted to the president’s decisions until late on Sunday night. Ennahda members said they did not know the whereabouts of the head of government after his meeting with Mr. Sagent yesterday afternoon.
Rapid developments followed mass mobilizations in several Tunisian cities yesterday despite the deployment of large police forces to restrict movement and rallies amid the ongoing escalation of the health crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s health system has suffered from saturation and huge shortages, especially of oxygen. With nearly 18,000 deaths due to COVID-19, Tunisia, with a population of 12 million, has one of the highest mortality rates in the world.
With information from: euronews.gr, CNA
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