Tunisia’s parliament approves Cabinet reshuffle amid protests

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Tunisia’s parliament on Tuesday permitted a Cabinet reshuffle that deepened the battle between the prime minister and the president, as a whole lot protested exterior the closely barricaded parliament over social inequality and police abuses.

Riot police turned water cannon on protesters exterior the parliament earlier on Tuesday, making an attempt to quell the biggest rally since demonstrations started this month.

Hundreds of protesters had marched from the Ettadhamen district of the capital, Tunis, the place younger folks have clashed with police a number of nights this month, and have been joined by a whole lot extra close to the parliament.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi named 11 new ministers and mentioned he hoped it could inject new blood into his authorities. “Young folks protesting exterior parliament reminds us of our priorities.

Their protests are authentic and the federal government will hearken to the offended youth,” he mentioned. But President Kais Saied indicated on Monday he would reject the Cabinet reshuffle, condemned the absence of ladies among the many new ministers and mentioned some seemingly new Cabinet members might have conflicts of curiosity.

Saied, who appointed Mechichi final yr however has taken subject with a few of his strikes, mentioned he wouldn’t swear in any ministers suspected of corruption. Police blocked the march with barricades to forestall protesters approaching the parliament constructing the place lawmakers have been debating the federal government reshuffle.

“The government that only uses police to protect itself from the people – it has no more legitimacy,” mentioned one protester, Salem Ben Saleh, who’s unemployed. Later, police additionally blocked Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the broad tree-lined boulevard that’s residence to the Interior Ministry and the place main protests have historically taken place, as demonstrators tried to assemble there.

ARAB SPRING ANNIVERSARY

Protests flared earlier this month on the tenth anniversary of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that impressed that Arab Spring and launched democracy within the North African nation.

Political paralysis and financial decline have soured many Tunisians on the fruits of the rebellion. The political impasse in Tunisia since elections in 2019 has stymied efforts to handle festering financial issues, with each overseas lenders and the primary labour union demanding reforms.

Last yr, as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic struck, Tunisia’s financial system shrank by greater than 8%. The fiscal deficit rose above 12% of gross home product, ballooning public debt to greater than 90% of GDP.

The nightly clashes between younger folks and police have been matched by rising daytime protests at which demonstrators have chanted slogans together with: “The people want the fall of the regime” – echoing Arab Spring uprisings.

On Tuesday, with anger excessive over the dying on Monday of a younger man whose household mentioned had been hit by a tear gasoline canister, protesters chanted in opposition to the safety forces.

In Sbeitla, the hometown of Haykel Rachdi, who was buried on Tuesday, mourners later clashed with police, witnesses mentioned. As parliamentary debate on the reshuffle paused, some opposition lawmakers left parliament to affix the protest exterior.

“Mechichi has transformed this into a police state. … No work, no development, no investment… just police against the people,” mentioned Imed, one other protester who didn’t need to give his household title.

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