TUNIS: Thousands of Tunisians protested on Sunday after President Kais Saied gave himself broad powers over the bar, his rearmost step in what opponents say is a slide towards authoritarianism.
A decree published in the early hours officially replaced a judicial watchdog he’d pledged to dissolve, and gave him powers to block judicial movables, sack judges and ban them from going on strike.
Hours latterly, further than protesters gathered in central Tunis, numerous signaling large Tunisian flags and chanting taglines against the chairman.
“ The people want what you do n’t want,” went one chant, echoing a watchword of the country’s rebellion against the governance of oppressor Zine El Abidine Ben Ali over a decade ago “ The people want the governance to fall.” Some protesters carried signs reading “ save our republic!” and “ do n’t touch the bar!” Saied’s decree came a week after he said he’d dissolve the High Judicial Council (CSM), egging a civil strike by judges saying the move would infringe on their independence.
Sunday’s ruling establishes a new “ Temporary Supreme Judicial Council” with 21 members, who must swear “ by God almighty to save the independence of the bar”. Nine are directly appointed by the chairman.
The rest, all judges, are laterally under his control in view of his new powers to dismiss “ any judge failing to do his professional duties”.