Tunisia imposes curfew ahead of Arab Spring anniversary

Tunisia imposes curfew ahead of protests marking Arab Spring anniversary
2 min read
13 January, 2022
Opposition parties have denounced the curfew, which was officially adopted 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 go ahead with planned protests despite the curfew [Getty]

Tunisian authorities have announced a two-week night curfew and a ban on all gatherings starting on Thursday, days ahead of protests scheduled for the anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring

The night curfew will last from 10pm to 5am for a duration of two weeks, and can be renewed.

The Tunisian 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 power grab last July, when he suspended parliament and gave himself extended executive and judicial powers.

The country's main political parties, including Ennahda -which held the largest number of seats in the Tunisian parliament before it was suspended - have already stated they will go ahead with a mass protest scheduled on Friday in Tunis. 

The date marks the 11th anniversary of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flight from the country after a popular uprising. He was later sentenced in absentia over corruption charges and inciting violence.

Saied's July power-grab came as Tunisia faced a political and economic crisis and mounting coronavirus cases. But Saied has used his extensive 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 the security of the state" after publicly calling for civil disobedience.