Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tunisian Judges Continue Strike After Mass Sacking

FILE - Lawyers and activists gather on the steps of the Palace of Justice during a protest in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Protests by Tunisian judges and lawyers continued for the third day as part of a nationwide strike triggered by President Kais Saied's expulsion of 57 judges.

Tunisian judges gathered outside the capital's courts on Wednesday to protest the president's interference in the judiciary. This is the latest demonstration in a weeklong strike following the president’s dismissal of 57 judges.

“Down with the coup," some protestors chanted, while others shouted, “Judicial authority, no police orders.”

Several lawyers told The Associated Press they would persist with their opposition to President Kais Saied's actions, which include ditching Tunisia’s 2014 constitution to rule instead by decree.

Accusing him of staging a coup in July 2021 after he sacked the government, the opposition says Saied is cementing a one-man-rule.

However, Saied defended his decisions last week by outlining a list of allegations with little proof against dozens of judges, ranging from alleged corruption and illicit money accumulation to terrorist protection and sexual harassment.

Saied stated in a televised address that he has "given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself."

Said Benarbia, MENA regional director of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, said on Twitter he doubts Saied's intentions and questioned what the move to sack judges could mean for ordinary Tunisians.

"Because no judge is safe in Tunisia today, the rights and freedoms of Tunisians are also not safe," he said.