Tunisia imposes curfew ahead of protests marking Arab Spring anniversary

Opposition parties have denounced the curfew, which was officially passed to curb rising Covid-19 cases but coincides with the date of a planned protest marking the anniversary of the Arab Spring.

Some political parties intend to continue planned protests despite curfew [Getty]

Tunisian authorities announced a two-week night curfew and a ban on all gatherings from Thursday, days before protests planned for the anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring.

The night curfew will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a period of two weeks, and can be renewed.

Tunisia‘s government said it based its decision on a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, but opposition parties have accused the government of imposing the curfew for political reasons.

Several Tunisian political parties have rallied to protest President Kais Saied’s takeover last July, when he suspended parliament and gave himself sweeping executive and judicial powers.

The country’s main political parties, including Ennahda – which held the most seats in Tunisia’s parliament before its suspension – have already said they will go ahead with a mass protest planned for Friday in Tunis.

The date marks the 11th anniversary of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s flight from the country after a popular uprising. He was later convicted in absentia of corruption and incitement to violence.

Saied’s takeover in July came as Tunisia faced a political and economic crisis and a rise in coronavirus cases. But Saied has used his sweeping powers to clamp down on basic rights and jail opponents.

In December, exiled former president Moncef Marzouki was sentenced in absentia to four years in prison for “undermining state security” after publicly calling for civil disobedience.

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