After a crackdown on opponents accused of treason and corruption, several hundred supporters of President Kais Saied demonstrated in Tunis on Monday to denounce foreign involvement.
“The people want the nation cleaned!” they yelled along a key Tunis avenue. Saied’s followers seldom demonstrate, but the opposition has drawn thousands.
In 2021, Saied, elected in 2019, shut down parliament, replaced the cabinet, and rewrote the constitution.
In recent weeks, police have arrested politicians, labor union leaders, judges, a major businessman, and an independent radio station’s director who accused him of a coup.
Saied denies staging a coup, calling his opponents traitors, criminals, and terrorists.
He has denounced US and European parliament concerns as foreign meddling and attacks on Tunisian sovereignty.
French or American ambassadors met with people detained recently and kept in pre-trial custody on suspicions of collaborating against national security.
“We back Saied in his struggle against the traitors and the corrupt, against those who damaged the nation over the previous decade and against outsider intervention,” said demonstrator Lobna Souissi.
“We want Saied to continue his battle ruthlessly,” she continued.