Tunisia: Political Opposition Links Prisoner Releases to End of Protests

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Political, Tunisia


On 24 March 2023, officials from the Ennahdha party continued their demands for the release of opposition figures that have recently been detained. Some of those recently detained are approaching 50 days in detention, with families and supporters of the detained claiming a lack of due process and abuse. Amongst those detained are those with family members in the UK, who have called upon the British government to sanction Tunisian officials, including the President.

Supporters of the National Salvation Front (NSF), which includes the Ennahdha party, continue to hold vocal protests calling for the release of detained opposition figures and the reversal of many of President Kais Saied’s policies. Recent statements indicated that the protests being held by NSF would only stop when the arrested opposition figures were released. However, NSF officials acknowledged that conditions for those detained had improved due to advocacy and the intervention of international human rights bodies.

Meanwhile, on 20 March 2023, President Saied’s supporters gathered for a demonstration of support in Tunis. Saied’s supporters have been less vocal and less publicized by the media, yet remain supportive of his anti-corruption agenda. The February and March detentions of a number of opposition figures and activists remains a sign of progress to Saied’s supporters, who see the former political party system as the source of many of Tunisia’s woes.


Tunisia’s political opposition remains vocal, but unable to make significant progress toward their goals. With the political parties unable to build meaningful trust and common objectives with the labor unions, any large-scale opposition to President Saied remains a challenge.

Much-anticipated protests over the weekend of 4 and 5 March 2023 failed to demonstrate a cohesive opposition message. And with Ramadan underway and summer approaching, the opposition may continue to struggle to mobilize meaningful support to President. In the short and medium term, this may have a stabilizing effect on the environment in Tunisia, even as President Saied continues to receive criticism for his handling of sub-Saharan African migrants in Tunisia.


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