Thousands of people gathered over the weekend to protest the move, including from the Islamist Ennahdha party, which has been sidelined by the president’s actions. Human rights defenders and civil society organizations have openly condemned his actions, calling them a threat to Tunisia’s democratic transition.
Tunisian state agency TAP reported on Sunday that a lawmaker and a television host were arrested for making critical television comments about Saied, citing lawyer Samir Ben Amor.
But the crowd at Sunday’s protest were content and hopeful.
“I have come here to support the dissolution of parliament, because we are tired of these corrupt politicians, these thieves,” protester Intissar Slits, 45, told The Associated Press. “We are here to support our president, it is the will of the people. People are tired of being poor, tired of being hungry, we are tired of everything.
Another protester said the country’s 2014 constitution was a failure and did not represent the wishes of the Tunisian people, only those of a small group of politicians.
Despite concerns about the legitimacy of the measures taken by Saied, protester Sonia Belnasser said a return to authoritarian rule is impossible for the Tunisian people.
“The Tunisian people are now on the streets supporting Kais Saied, Professor Kais Saied, President Kais Saied, because he said no to corruption. If one day he is part of the wrong system, then all the people will turn against him, ”she said, adding that she was happy with Saied’s appointment of Najla Bouden as head of government last week, the first woman Prime Minister of the Arab world.