Tunisian lawyers call for strike over colleague’s arrest for sarcastic TV quip

A Tunisian lawyers association on Sunday called for a nationwide strike after hooded police raided Tunisia’s bar association headquarters and arrested a prominent lawyer as authorities escalated a broad government crackdown that has ensnared political dissidents, non-governmental organizations and Black migrants.

Sonia Dahmani, a prominent critic of the government, was arrested Saturday night after making sarcastic remarks about Tunisia on a local television programme last week and charged with distributing false information and disrupting public order.

She was the latest dissident to be charged under the country’s controversial Decree 54, an anti-fake news law that the government has used to pursue critics of President Kais Saied.

The Tunisian Lawyers Council on Sunday called for a nationwide general strike to be held by all lawyers.

Dahmani’s advocates had gathered at the bar association Saturday to protest a warrant for her arrest when police stormed the building.

FRANCE 24's French language reporter was live on air from Tunis when hooded police officials arrived at the bar association to arrest Dahmani.

Masked police forced FRANCE 24 to stop broadcasting after tearing "the camera from its tripod" and briefly detaining the cameraman.

FRANCE 24 has condemned the "brutal intervention by security forces that prevented journalists from practising their profession as they were covering a lawyers' protest for justice and in support of freedom of expression".

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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