PRI: The president of Tunisia suspended the legislature and fired the prime minister on Sunday following nationwide protests over the country’s economic troubles and the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Protesters celebrated President Kais Saied’s decision late Sunday night with shouts of joy, honking of horns and waving Tunisian flags. But his critics accused him of a power grab, and the North African country’s overseas allies expressed concern that its young democracy might be descending again into autocracy. In a move sure to fuel those worries, police raided the offices of broadcaster Al Jazeera and ordered it to shut down.
Tunisia, which ignited the Arab uprisings when protests led to the overthrow of its longtime autocratic leader, is often regarded as the only success story of those uprisings. But democracy did not bring prosperity: Tunisia’s economy was already flailing before the pandemic hit, with 18% unemployment, and young people demanding jobs and an end to police brutality protested in large numbers earlier this year. The government recently announced cuts to food and fuel subsidies as it sought its fourth loan from the International Monetary Fund in a decade, fueling anger in impoverished regions. read more