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Hundreds of individuals marched via Tunisia’s capital on Saturday, decrying an increasing crackdown on opposition voices and rising inflation because the nation’s largest commerce union referred to as on President Kais Saied to simply accept “dialogue”.
The march organised by Tunisia’s highly effective central commerce union was the newest problem to Tunisian President Kais Saied, whose management of the North African nation is prompting rising worldwide concern.
Since taking workplace in October 2019, Saied has consolidated his energy, dismantled the nation’s democratic features and unleashed repression in opposition to migrants from elsewhere in Africa.
Within the largest crackdown because the president’s energy seize, police have arrested round 20 outstanding political figures over the previous two weeks, primarily Saied’s opponents.
“Freedom, freedom, down with the police state,” demonstrators chanted as they marched in Tunis on Saturday, additionally calling for “a halt to impoverishment” within the North African nation.
UGTT chief Noureddine Taboubi accused the president of focusing on the highly effective union as a part of a wider crackdown in opposition to critics.
Taboubi condemned the newest wave of arrests and the imprisonment since February of Anis Kaabi, a high UGTT official for freeway staff, who had been detained after a strike by toll barrier staff.
“We are going to by no means settle for such arrests,” Taboubi advised the protesters.
The UGTT has round a million members and shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 with three different civil society teams for selling nationwide dialogue within the nation of about 12 million inhabitants.
Saied questioned the motives of the organisers of Saturday’s march and denounced the UGTT’s determination to ask international commerce union leaders to the protest as “unacceptable.’’
The final secretary of the European Commerce Union Confederation was declared persona non grata in Tunisia after collaborating in an illustration final month. On Thursday, Tunisian border police turned away a Spanish commerce union chief.
“Tunisia shouldn’t be a farm, meadow or a land and not using a grasp. Whoever needs to show is free to take action, however he doesn’t have to ask foreigners to take part,” Saied mentioned on the eve of Saturday’s march.
‘No to racism’
Taboubi referred to as on Saied to embrace “dialogue” and “democratic” methods, slamming the president for pursuing a “violent discourse… that’s dividing the nation”.
The UGTT chief additionally defended “the rights of migrants, no matter their nationality or the color of their pores and skin”.
“Tunisia is a rustic of tolerance, no to racism,” he advised the group.
Saied final month ordered officers to take “pressing measures” to sort out irregular migration, claiming with out proof that “a felony plot” was underway “to alter Tunisia’s demographic make-up”.
The rally on Saturday got here as some 300 West African migrants in Tunisia ready to be repatriated, terrified of a wave of attacks against sub-Saharan migrants since Saied’s feedback.
Ivory Coast and Guinea despatched planes on Saturday to evacuate their residents being focused as Tunisian authorities stepped up arrests of migrants. Some sub-Saharan Africans have camped out in tents in entrance of the UN migration workplace in Tunis to hunt safety.
Taboubi additionally criticised negotiations between the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) and Tunisia, which is struggling beneath crippling inflation and debt price round 80 % of its gross home product (GDP).
Tunisia is looking for a bailout package deal price practically $2 billion from the IMF, which situations any support on a sequence of reforms.
Taboubi mentioned the UGTT is unaware of the “particulars of the proposals” made by the Tunisian authorities however harassed that the union is completely against any lifting of presidency subsidies on primary items reminiscent of foodstuff and gas.
Tunisian authorities banned one other protest, deliberate for Sunday by the Islamist Nationwide Salvation Entrance, calling it a “menace to public security.’’ Islamist leaders referred to as on supporters to take to the streets anyway.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)