Hundreds of Tunisians have taken to the streets to protest against President Kais Saied a week before elections to a new parliament created by his constitutional changes, accusing him of an undemocratic coup.
Saied shut down the previous parliament last year and ruled by decree before rewriting the constitution this year to give the presidency more powers, moves rejected by most political parties.
The protests were organized by political parties that have been marginalized by Saied, first by firing the government and suspending parliament last year, then by a new constitution.
Demonstrators marched in central Tunis holding banners aloft with the words “resign” and others complaining that people have become “poorer and hungrier”, journalists reported.
Speakers at the protest, including senior politicians from opposition parties, said the vote scheduled for December 17 was illegitimate and urged a boycott, accusing Saied of carrying out an undemocratic coup.
“All the opposition agree on one position which is rejecting a coup and calling for a return to democracy,” Samira Chaouachi, a deputy speaker in the elected parliament that Saied dissolved, said.
The president shut down the previous parliament in March 2021 and ruled by decree before rewriting the constitution to accrue more powers.
Saied has said his actions were legal and necessary in order to save Tunisia from years of crisis and has repeatedly said he will not become a dictator.
Tunisians had grown increasingly frustrated over recent years at economic stagnation and political paralysis, with a divided parliament and unstable government. Elevated food prices and shortages of basic goods reflect a long-running economic crisis in the country.