Strike paralyzes Tunisia, intensifies pressure on president

STORY: Public transport ground to halt, flights were cancelled at Tunis-Carthage Airport, and sea ports were paralyzed by the one-day walkout by the UGTT union, which has 1 million members.

The strike followed government proposals for a wage freeze and subsidy cuts, steps designed to yield a badly needed IMF deal for a $4 billion loan to address a crunch in the North African country's public finances.

The strike compounded the challenges facing Saied, who has tightened his grip on power since July 2021 when he froze parliament and sacked the cabinet - moves his opponents called a coup against Tunisia's young democracy.

Defying opponents, Saied is now seeking to overhaul the constitution so the president wields more power, against the backdrop of a tanking economy and concern about a public finance crisis unless Tunisia can secure external funding.

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