Tunisian President Kais Saied said that the actions that some people take - in light of the political crisis the country is going through - rise to the rank of "conspiracy against state security" both internal and external.

The Tunisian president's statements came during his meeting with the Ministers of Justice and the Interior, and after explicit calls from opposition political leaders for him to step down and for state institutions to refuse to obey his orders.

Yesterday, Saied decided to dismiss the Minister of Trade and the governor of Sfax, the second largest city in the country, amid an economic crisis and strong political divisions.

And the Tunisian presidency announced, in a brief statement without giving clear reasons, "the termination of the duties of the Minister of Trade and Export Development, Fadela Rabhi Ben Hamza."

Rabhi bin Hamza, who was appointed Minister of Trade and Export Development in November 2021, is the first member of Naglaa Boden's government to be dismissed by Saeed.

The Tunisian president also decided to "end the duties of the governor of Sfax, Fakher Al-Fakhfakh," whom he had appointed in June 2022.

Sfax, the large industrial city in central-eastern Tunisia with a population of one million, has been witnessing demonstrations since 2021;

Protesting the accumulation of waste in the streets and sidewalks, which threatens public health.

Deep divisions

These two dismissals come in a context of political tension, as the country has witnessed deep divisions since Saeed decided to monopolize power on July 25, 2021, and later appointed a new government, amended the 2014 constitution, and approved new parliamentary elections at the end of the year.

Tunisia was also subjected to a new shock with the war in Ukraine, which led to an increase in the prices of grain and oil, which the country imports in large quantities.

The political and financial crises in recent months have led to a shortage of some basic products, such as milk, sugar, rice and coffee, and a decline in purchasing power due to accelerating inflation (about 10% in a year).

On the other hand, the Tunisian Union of Retirees affiliated with the Labor Union called for a protest today against the deterioration of the living conditions of retirees due to the wave of high prices that affected foodstuffs, electricity and water bills, in addition to the loss of medicines and a number of basic materials.

Ali Al-Areed

On the other hand, dozens of Ennahda supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tunis, on Friday, to demand the release of the former prime minister and deputy head of the movement, Ali Larayedh.

On December 20, the movement announced the issuance of a decision to imprison Al-Areed in connection with the case of "deporting Tunisians to hotbeds of tension outside the country."

Investigations into the file began following a complaint submitted by former parliamentarian Fatima Al-Masdi (Nidaa Tounes) in December 2021 to the military judiciary, before transferring it to the judicial pole to combat terrorism due to the presence of civilians among the defendants.

The investigation into the case includes leaders of the Ennahda movement, including its president, Rashid Ghannouchi.

Participants in the demonstration chanted slogans such as "Loyal, loyal... to the blood of the martyrs," "Freedoms, freedoms... O fulfillment of instructions" and "Down with the coup." Seib (release) Ali Al-Areedh.”

In statements to reporters on the sidelines of the demonstration, Noureddine al-Buhairi, deputy head of the movement, said, "The opposition in Tunisia suffers from a campaign and discrimination on a political basis, and everyone who is an opposition and everyone who says no to impoverishing and starving the people has become an enemy of President Kais Saied."

Al-Buhairi considered that "a part of the Tunisian people is suffering from a campaign of incitement to hatred, murder, violence and liquidation."

He stressed that "Saeed does not have the right to call for the liquidation of his opponents and to launch a hate campaign against them."

He added, "We have fought for democracy for decades, and we still believe that Tunisia's future is in it. We will not give up our rights and we will continue to fight for them, at a cost to us, until the coup falls and closes this bracket."