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After violent Covid protests, Tunisian PM sacked

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Tunisia, another country victim to the ravages of the Covid 19 pandemic saw thousands of protesters gathering to express dissatisfaction at the government’s mishandling of the pandemic. These protesters clashed with the police on the 25th of July following which the president of the nation sacked the Tunisian PM ad suspended the Parliament.

President Kais Saied released an official statement that he would be the in-charge of the administration now with a new prime minister. He aims to bring back calm and peace to the country which has been lost over the struggles of the pandemic.

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In his address on a television program, Mr. Saied said ‘We have taken these decisions… until social peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the state’. This was immediately following an emergency security meeting at his palace.

Late on Sunday night, all the people against the government erupted into celebrations as Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi was sacked and this celebration was joined by the President himself in the capital Tunis. Earlier thousands of revolters had gathered to demonstrate against the ruling party in Tunis and chants of ‘Get out’ could be heard reverberating through the air as people asked for the dissolution of the Parliament.

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As people poured onto the streets and the crowd blocked off roads to raise voices against the Tunisian PM, security forces blocked off the parliament and the streets surrounding the central Avenue Bourguiba which had been at the centre of the anti-government protests during Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.

To control the mob, police fired tear gas and made several arrests which caused clashes to break out between the protesters and police in several small towns spread throughout the country. Along with protesting on the streets, people entered the offices of the governing Ennahdha party and destroyed their property, smashing computers and also setting fire to the local headquarter in Tozeur.

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The ruling party condemned the attack and accused ‘criminal gangs’ who were in pursuit of trying to ‘seed chaos and destruction. President Saied however has vowed to use military force in retribution to further violence. ‘I warn any who think of resorting to weapons… and whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets.’

A decade on, Tunisia is embroiled in confronting a deep economic crisis and is also one of the worst-hit nations due to the coronavirus in Africa. The past few weeks have seen a sharp increase in cases causing further anxiety to this already faltering society. The hope is that the country will see some turn for the positive shortly and the uncertainty clouding the future of people’s lives will part to allow a ray of anticipation to enter their lives.

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