Ex-Tunisian president calls for 'civil disobedience'

Former Tunisian president calls for 'civil disobedience' against Kais Saied's 'coup'
2 min read
09 January, 2022
Tunisia's former leader has called on the country's people to peacefully protest against President Kais Saied to reverse his 'coup'
Marzouki called on Tunisians to use all means of peaceful civil resistance to face Saied [Anadolu Agency/Getty- archive]

Former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki on Saturday called for civil disobedience in his country to protest current head of state Kais Saied.

Marzouki, who lives in the French capital and was given a four-year prison sentence in absentia last month, urged Tunisians to "bring down" President Saied before 25 July, which marks a year since the latter sacked the prime minister, dissolved parliament and seized an array of powers.

Saied has rejected widespread accusations - from Marzouki and the Islamist-inspired Ennahda party who were the largest party in parliament - that his actions constituted a coup.

Marzouki said in a statement posted on his Facebook account that "the July 25 coup was a cure for a disease, and instead of bringing the country the solutions it desperately needed, it pushed its problems to an unprecedented level of severity."

"The country has drifted in less than half a year into the division of the people, the collapse of the economy, the threat of the judiciary, the return of serious human rights violations, and the tarnishing of Tunisia's image in the world," his statement read, adding that the people were suffering from an unprecedented mental health crisis as a result of this.

The former president warned that the situation will only get worse with Said in power.

He called for widespread participation in the demonstrations planned for next Friday on 14 January in the capital Tunis to commemorate the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

The date marks when former president and dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia with his wife and three children, before being sentenced in absentia over corruption charges and inciting violence.

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"Let these popular protests be the start of civil disobedience that uses all means of peaceful civil resistance to force [he behind] the coup to resign… and the return of true sovereignty to the people by organising free and fair presidential and legislative elections that restore stability, investment and prosperity to Tunisia," said Marzouki.

Marzouki last month was found guilty of "assaulting the external security of the state" after he called for protests against and urged France to end its support for Tunisia.

In October last year, Saied ordered that Marzouki's diplomatic passport be withdrawn.