Thousands protest against Tunisian president amid political stand-off
People take part in a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's decisions, including the dissolution of the parliament and plans for a new constitution. Hasan Mrad/IMAGESLIVE via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
People take part in a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's decisions, including the dissolution of the parliament and plans for a new constitution. Hasan Mrad/IMAGESLIVE via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Thousands of people gathered in the Tunisian capital on Sunday to protest against the rule of President Kais Saied amid a months-long political crisis in the country.

The protest was the latest in a series of recent demonstrations against Saied, who dissolved parliament in March, eight months after he decided to suspend it as part of a string of measures that were decried as a coup by the opposition.

Tunisia, long seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring, has been in turmoil ever since.

Sunday's protest in central Tunis was attended by backers of the Islamist Ennahda movement as well as activist groups Citizens Against the Coup, and the National Salvation Front, witnesses confirmed.

The protest comes a week after Saied loyalists held a rally for him in the centre of the capital.

On Sunday, some protesters raised placards reading, "The coup is dying" and "No to people's division."

Others chanted the slogans, "Down with the coup" and "the police state is over."

In July last year, Saied, a former law professor, suspended parliament, sacked the sitting prime minister and expanded his legislative and executive powers.

Saied, who took office in 2019, defended his moves, saying they were in line with the constitution and promising to safeguard freedom and civil rights.

He has unveiled a road map to end the political impasse that includes a referendum on reforms and parliamentary elections. His opponents have rejected the road map, however, accusing Saied of simply planning to tighten his grip on power.

People take part in a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's decisions, including the dissolution of the parliament and plans for a new constitution. Hasan Mrad/IMAGESLIVE via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa