Tunisia: Amend Excessive Covid-19 Restrictions Banning all Public Gatherings

Tunisia: Amend Excessive Covid-19 Restrictions Banning all Public Gatherings

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Middle East

Tunisia: Amend Excessive Covid-19 Restrictions Banning all Public Gatherings

New Covid-19 restrictions in Tunisia banning all public gatherings effectively impose a blanket ban on public demonstrations, and thus impede people’s rights to free expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today. The restrictions came into force on 13 January, amid signs of growing intolerance for dissent and one day before planned demonstrations against President Kais Saied on the 11-year anniversary of the ouster of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. “Every January, Tunisians have commemorated Tunisia’s revolution by taking to the streets to voice their grievances. It is imperative that the Covid-19 health crisis not be used as a pretext to suppress rights in general or the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in particular,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Under the new restrictions, there is a risk that authorities’ response to demonstrations could lead to unnecessary use of force or arbitrary arrests, a shameful feature of security forces’ policing of many public demonstrations in recent years. We call on Tunisian authorities to amend the new rules to bring them in line with Tunisia’s international obligations.” Tunisia’s government says the new restrictions, announced on the head

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