Tunisia arrests opposition party leader as crackdown widens


Tunis, Tunisia.

Tunisian police on Wednesday arrested Abir Moussi, the head of an opposition party and critic of President Kais Saied, the latest in a crackdown on the opposition in the North African country.

Moussi, the head of the Free Destourian Party, was arrested outside the presidential palace where she went to file a challenge against a recent presidential decree on holding local elections later this year.

The party said in a statement that she was taken to a security centre in a suburb of the Tunisian capital and her lawyers were denied access to her.

Free Destourian condemned the “serious and arbitrary transgressions” and accused Saied of “controlling administrative agencies and deviating them from their neutrality.”

So far, there has been no comment from Tunisian authorities.

Prior to her reported arrest, Moussi appeared in a video outside the presidential palace.

In recent months, several critics of Saied have been detained.

Since 2021, Saied has consolidated his power by dissolving the legislature dominated by the opposition Islamist movement Ennahda and holding early parliamentary elections.

Saied also held a constitutional referendum, which granted him more expansive authority.

The opposition accuses Saied of making a power grab.

Saied, who took office in 2019, has repeatedly defended his moves, saying they were in line with the constitution.

Tunisia’s reputation as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring revolts has been tarnished recently.

The country has also been roiled by economic upheaval and high unemployment


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