UK's Corbyn says Tunisia turmoil bears 'hallmarks of a coup'

UK's Corbyn says Tunisia turmoil bears 'hallmarks of a coup'
2 min read
31 July, 2021
Jeremy Corbyn said the political turmoil in Tunisia bears the "hallmarks of a coup".
Corbyn said the move risks gains seen in the past decade [Getty]

The former leader of Britain's main opposition Labour party slammed events in Tunisia as a "coup" on Saturday,  warning the political unrest risks democratic gains of the past ten years.

"Events in Tunisia have all the hallmarks of a coup and an assault on the democratic gains of the past decade," Jeremy Corbyn wrote in a post on Facebook.

"Full solidarity with those defending democratic rights and freedoms - and support for the restoration of the elected parliament and an end to the crackdown. Tunisians deserve social justice and real independence, not a return to dictatorship," he added.

The comments came just under a week after Tunisia's President Kais Saied suspended parliament and sacked the prime minister on Sunday.

Saied has also declared a crackdown on corruption, accusing 460 businessmen of embezzlement.

Tunisia's main political parties, including the country’s largest, Ennahda, have accused the president of breaking constitutional laws, while former president Moncef Marzouki has condemned the move as a "clear coup" instigated by the UAE.

Saied has said his actions are justified under the constitution which allows the head of state to take unspecified exceptional measures in the event of an "imminent threat".

On Friday, Tunisian security forces arrested a member of parliament who condemned President Kais Saied's power grab as a "military coup", his party said.

"It is a military coup," independent MP Yassine Ayari said on Facebook after the president last Sunday suspended parliament and sacked the premier.

Ayari, 30, is a vocal critic of authorities who has had many run-ins with the law in past years.

He was sentenced to six months in prison in 2015 for defaming the army and was handed a three-month jail sentence in 2018 for criticising the military.

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His party, Hope and Labour, said he was arrested by members of the president's security team who did not provide any arrest warrant.

Ayari's wife said on Facebook that his detention was "violent".

On top of the political turmoil, the North African nation is beset by a crippling economic crisis including soaring inflation and high unemployment, as well as surging Covid-19 infections.