Opposition Kicks as Tunisia Govt. Re-imposes COVID-19 Restriction

Tunisia will re-impose a night curfew and ban all gatherings for two weeks beginning Thursday in an attempt to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, the government announced on Wednesday.

But government critics say the COVID-19 restriction is an attempt to prevent planned protests against President Kais Saied called by major political parties.

The ban on gatherings and a request to avoid travel within the country except for emergencies comes two days before the planned demonstration.

In September of last year, as cases of the plague declined, Tunisia lifted the curfew it imposed during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.

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The new curfew will last for at least two weeks and will extend from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily.

Saied’s dismissal of parliament and his assertion of broad powers in July in moves his critics call a coup were a result of the government’s perceived poor response to the pandemic.

On Friday, leaders of two parties that had been calling for protests accused the government of restoring health restrictions for political reasons.

“We will be on Revolution Street to protest whatever the cost,” Ghazi Chaouachi, the head of Attayar which had 22 of the suspended parliament’s 217 seats, told reporters, using a nickname to describe the capital’s Habib Bourguiba Avenue.

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According to Issam Chebbi, leader of the Joumhouri Party, the measures were meant to prevent “a wave of popular anger that they could only address by citing health conditions”.

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