Tunisia to compensate revolution’s dead and wounded: Tunisian President

The Tunisian dinar has fallen to three-year lows and a delegation is to go to Washington this month to seek a deal with the International Monetary Fund

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TUNIS: Tunisian President Kais Saied, facing political and economic crisis and accusations he took power in a coup, announced compensation on Sunday for the families of those killed and wounded in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy to the country.

Saied last month dissolved parliament, imposing one-man rule after governing by decree since the summer. He has said he was trying to save the north African country from collapse.

The Tunisian dinar has fallen to three-year lows and a delegation is to go to Washington this month to seek a deal with the International Monetary Fund

Saied’s decree on Saturday approves compensation for the families of “martyrs” and police and army killed and wounded defending the country from what he called “terrorist attacks” in the years after the revolution that sparked the Arab uprisings around the region.

Dozens of youths were killed and hundreds injured during an uprising against the rule of then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Saied has promised to uphold rights and freedoms won in the revolution, but his critics say his actions, which also include replacing a body that guaranteed judicial independence, show he is determined to cement one-man rule. Tunisia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that comments by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tunisia’s leader dissolving parliament was “an unacceptable interference” in internal affairs.

On Monday, Erdogan criticized President Kais Saied’s decree dissolving parliament last week as a “smearing of democracy” and a blow to the will of the Tunisian people.

“Tunisia expresses its astonishment at the Turkish President’s statement … these comments are unacceptable,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“Tunisia affirms its keenness on close relations with friendly countries but adheres to the independence of its decision and rejects interference in its sovereignty,” it said.

Tunisia’s political crisis intensified last week when more than half the members of parliament held an online session to revoke Saied’s decrees. Saied responded by dissolving parliament and imposing one-man rule.

Anti-terrorism police summoned the main opposition figure, Rached Ghannouchi, who is also Parliament Speaker, and other lawmakers for questioning last week.

Saied’s move was criticized at home and abroad. The US State Department expressed its deep concern while the opposition called for a protest next Sunday in Tunis.

Ghannouchi, who is the head of Islamist Ennahda party, rejected Saied’s decision to dissolve parliament and said other virtual sessions would be convened.

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