Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
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Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Hundreds of people rallied Sunday in downtown Tunis in support of President Kais Saied amid the recent arrests of journalists, lawyers, and other public figures in Tunisia.

The rally came days after an international backlash over the flurry of arrests, which the UN and the EU said were unlawful.

President Saied on Thursday blasted the international criticism as foreign "interference" and ordered the Tunisian foreign ministry to summon the ambassadors of several countries.

"No to foreign interference, because we are a sovereign state," said Saber Rzigue, a protester on Sunday, AFP reported.

"We support the Tunisian leadership, particularly President Kais Saied."

"We are against foreign interference and against traitors, even if they are Tunisian," said Mohamed Hentati, another protester.

"Today, we want to contribute to history and stand against anyone who wants to occupy our country and try to change its social fabric," he added.

Sunday's rally also came after a significant protest and strike by lawyers earlier in the week over police raids and arrests in the national bar association.

The head of the bar, Hatem Meziou, called for an end to "the abuse of power" and for President Saied to intervene.

But Saied, who seized sweeping powers in 2021, replied on Thursday by saying the arresting of two lawyers was "in full respect for Tunisian law, which guarantees equality and the right to a fair trial".

Demonstrators on Sunday defended the president.

"Kais Saied is above all of us," said Mahmoud, a protester who chose not to give his full name.

"It is in him that we trust. He brought us security and peace."



More than a 100 Killed in Gaza in 24 Hours

Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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More than a 100 Killed in Gaza in 24 Hours

Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Smoke from Israeli bombardment billows in the background near an area previously housing displaced Palestinians leaving Rafah towards Khan Younis on June 20, 2024, in the southern Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

 At least 42 people were killed in Israeli attacks on districts of Gaza City in the north of the Palestinian enclave on Saturday, the director of the Hamas-run government media office said.
One Israeli strike on houses in Al-Shati, one of the Gaza Strip's eight historic refugee camps, killed 24 people, Ismail Al-Thawabta told Reuters. Another 18 Palestinians were killed in a strike on houses in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood.

The offensive has left Gaza in ruins, killed more than 37,400 people, of whom 101 were killed in the past 24 hours, according to Palestinian health authorities, and left nearly the entire population homeless and destitute.

The Israeli military released a brief statement saying: "A short while ago, army fighter jets struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the area of Gaza City."
It said more details would be released soon.
Hamas did not comment on the Israeli claim to have hit its military infrastructure. It said in a statement the attacks targeted the civilian population and vowed in a statement "the occupation and its Nazi leaders will pay the price for their violations against our people."
Footage obtained by Reuters showed dozens of Palestinians rushing out to search for victims amid the destroyed houses. The footage showed wrecked homes, blasted walls, and debris and dust filling the street in Shati refugee camp.

More than eight months into the war, Israel's advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the centre.
Residents said Israeli tanks deepened their incursion into western and northern Rafah areas in recent days. On Saturday Israeli forces bombed several areas from air and the ground, forcing many families living in areas described as humanitarian-designated zones to leave northwards.
The Israeli military said forces continued "precise, intelligence-based" targeted operations in Rafah, killing many Palestinian gunmen and dismantling military infrastructure.
On Friday, the Gaza health ministry said at least 25 Palestinians were killed in Mawasi in western Rafah and 50 wounded. Palestinians said a tank shell hit a tent housing displaced families.