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Tunisian Police Detain Prominent Opposition Figure Abir Moussi at Presidential Palace Entrance

Tunis, Tunisia, October 3, 2023: In a development that has sparked national and international attention, Tunisian police arrested Abir Moussi, a prominent political opponent of President Kais Saied, at the entrance to the presidential palace on Tuesday. This incident, described by her lawyer as a "kidnapping," has raised concerns about democracy and political dissent in the country .

Nafaa Laribi, Abir Moussi's legal counsel, stated, "What happened was a kidnapping in front of the presidency, and she is being held at the police station." Meanwhile, an aide of Moussi took to social media , referring to the event as a "kidnapping" that unfolded right outside the Carthage Palace.

Authorities have refrained from issuing immediate comments or explanations regarding the incident. Abir Moussi, who leads the Free Constitutional Party, is known for her steadfast support of the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was removed from power amidst widespread protests in 2011.

The arrest of Moussi triggered impassioned reactions among her supporters. Outside the La Goulette police station, many of her followers gathered, passionately voicing their discontent and denouncing President Saied with fervent slogans. A significant police presence closely monitored the scene.

Moussi's visit to the presidential reception office on that fateful day was primarily to initiate proceedings for filing an appeal in anticipation of local elections scheduled for the year's end. She underscored the necessity of this preliminary step before pursuing further action in the Administrative Court.

President Kais Saied, a retired law professor who ascended to power in 2019, has been a source of controversy. In 2021, he dissolved the elected parliament and assumed rule by decree, a move his critics labeled a coup. Saied contends that his actions were driven by a desire to rescue Tunisia from years of instability and vehemently denies any coup allegations.

In a separate development within Tunisia's political landscape, Rached Ghannouchi, an incarcerated opposition leader and another vocal critic of President Saied, confirmed through his Islamist Ennahda party that he undertook a three-day hunger strike in solidarity with other imprisoned opposition figures.

The arrest of Abir Moussi and the ensuing political turbulence highlight the deep-seated divisions and tensions within Tunisia's political realm. These developments bring into sharp focus the formidable challenges faced by President Saied in his pursuit of stability and reform in the nation. The incident has also drawn the world's attention, with international observers closely monitoring the evolving situation in Tunisia.

Edited by: Sri Soudamini Konka

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