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Tunisia reinstates curfew and bans gatherings

The Tunisian government on Wednesday announced the imposition of a nighttime curfew for at least two weeks. The country faces a meteoric resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic, but the opposition denounces a pretext to prevent the protests.

The streets will soon be deserted again at night in Tunisia. The government will reimpose a nighttime curfew and ban all gatherings for two weeks from Thursday to limit the rapid spread of Covid-19, he announced on Wednesday January 12. A measure considered by opponents as an attempt to counter protest movements in the country.

A politically motivated pretext?

The ban on gatherings and the demand to avoid travel within the country, except in cases of emergency, come two days before a planned demonstration against Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed at the call of the main political parties. In July, Kaïs Saïed suspended the work of Parliament and arrogated to himself all the powers, what his detractors qualify as a coup d’état.

Tunisia had already imposed a curfew during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and for much of last year, but lifted it in September when the number of infections declined.

The new curfew will be in place for at least two weeks and will apply from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In defiance of the new restrictions, an official of the main Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda, Mohamed Goumani, on Wednesday maintained his call for demonstrations on Friday in the capital Tunis.

Leaders of two parties who joined the call for protests also accused the government of restoring health restrictions for political reasons.

« We will be on Revolution Street to protest regardless of the cost, » Ghazi Chaouachi, leader of the Social Democratic Attayar party, which held 22 of the 217 seats in the suspended parliament, told reporters, referring to the avenue. Habib Bourguiba in Tunis.

The leader of the Joumhouri party, Issam Chebbi, said for his part that these measures were intended to « prevent a wave of popular anger which they can only face by citing the health situation ».

With Reuters

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