Raging with the regime: Tunisians protest foreign interference

Support for Saied regime

Despite the liberty crackdowns, waves of arrests, and Tunisia’s flagging economy, diehard supporters of President Saied’s regime may see him into another presidential term come the November 2024 elections.

After national and international criticism over the recent wave of arrests across Tunisia, hundreds of Saied loyalists clogged the capital to demonstrate their devotion to his regime, Reuters reported on 19th May.

READ: Tunisia arrests sports officials in flag dispute

The EU, France, and the UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights all expressed their concerns over the numerous arrests and human rights violations that occurred throughout this month.

Although, the EU’s concern for humanitarian welfare appears to be isolated to the recent arrests as the EU have struck multiple anti-immigration deals with Tunisia and have been pouring euros into Tunisia’s (and Saied’s) pockets despite warnings from various human rights organisations.

These recent demonstrations counter last week’s protests, where hundreds called for the release of the imprisoned journalists, lawyers, activists and opposition figures to enable a fair presidential election.

However, according to the chants of protesters, “The people want Kai’s Saied.”

Protester, Ammar Hassen believes that “The West is moving their lobbies and traitors here to destabilise Tunisia.”

“We are here to support Saied…We are against foreign intervention and traitors,” he added.

Alternatively, evidence suggests that it was Saied’s redundancy of parliament in 2022, autocratic attitudes, and poor management of the country’s finances that led to Tunisia’s political and economic instability.

The recent arrest of an oppositional lawyer during a raid of the bar association headquarters sparked outrage and strikes in solidarity. Al Jazeera reported that Mahdi Zagrouba was arrested and “dragged…to the ground before [police] returned to smash the door glass,” of the headquarters, lawyer Kalthoum Kanou told Reuters.

This month, police have arrested 10 individuals, including lawyers, journalists and officials from civil society groups.

One of Saied’s most prominent prisoners is 82-year-old opposition party leader, Rached Ghannouchi. Ghannouchi’s daughter pleaded with European governments “not to support and legitimise Kais Saied,” in October 2023 after her father’s severe hunger strike.


Despite calls to revise EU migration deals for humanitarian reasons from European socialist candidate, Nicolas Schmit, it is unclear whether Italy will abandon the ‘Mattei Plan’.

Reuters/AP/Al Jazeera/EuroNews



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