Tunisian president's backers rally against 'coup' allegations

Thousands of supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied rallied in the capital on Sunday (October 3).

They took to the streets to show their backing for his suspension of parliament and promises to change the political system - acts his critics call a coup.

The demonstration in central Tunis was called in response to protests over the previous two weekends in the same location against Saied's actions.

It's expected to far outnumber those gatherings.

Demonstrators carried placards railing against Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that is the biggest in parliament and has acted as Saied's main antagonist.

The president plunged Tunisia into a constitutional crisis in July by suspending the elected parliament, dismissing the prime minister and assuming executive authority.

Last month he brushed aside much of the constitution to say he could pass legislation by decree

It cast into doubt Tunisia's democratic gains since its 2011 revolution that triggered the "Arab spring" revolts across the Muslim world.

Saied's intervention followed years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, aggravated by an impoverishing lockdown last year.

Many Tunisians blame those ills on a corrupt, self-interested political elite, and they see Saied, an independent elected in 2019, as a champion for ordinary people.

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