May 30, 2023

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Police close all Ennahda offices

“A police force came to the party’s main headquarters (in Tunis) and ordered everyone inside to come out before closing it down,” one of the party’s leaders told AFP. Ennahda, Riyadh Saibi.
“Police have also closed other party offices across the country and banned all meetings in these premises,” he added. The move comes a day after party leader Rached Ghannouchi was arrested at his home in Tunis.

In addition, the head of the National Salvation Front (FSN), the main opposition coalition of which Ennahda is a member, said police on Tuesday blocked a press conference his group was to hold to react to Khannouchi’s arrest. .
“The police prevented the press conference from taking place and set up barricades in front of the party headquarters,” Ahmed Nejib Seppi told AFP.

According to an Interior Ministry circular reprinted by the media, meetings at Ennahda’s offices across the territory and at FSN’s offices in the Greater Tunis region have been banned since Tuesday under the state of emergency in force in the country.
Without mentioning Khannouchi’s arrest, President Qais Syed, speaking at a ceremony honoring the security services, called for justice to “play its part in this transition of the country”. “We are waging a merciless war against those who seek to undermine the government and its institutions,” he added.

“A Disturbing Wave of Arrests”

The EU, Tunisia’s main partner, Mr. It said it was following “recent developments with great concern” in the country, citing Khannuchi’s arrest and the closure of his party’s campuses.
Brussels recalled “the importance of respecting security rights and the right to a fair trial” and underlined “the fundamental principle of political pluralism” for Ennahda.

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For its part, France condemned the arrests, saying it was “part of a worrying wave of arrests”, recalling “freedom of expression and respect for the rule of law”. Paris “called on the Tunisian authorities to ensure respect for the freedom of justice and the rights of security”.
Ghannouchi, 81, came after reports in the media that Tunisia was at risk of a “civil war” if the political Islam on which his party originated was removed there.

In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesman for the National Guard said the reports were “crimes aimed at changing the state system, inciting chaos and inciting citizens to kill each other”.