Tunisia’s president has sacked the PM and suspended parliament, after violent mass protests nationwide on Sunday. Anger over the government’s handling of a massive recent spike in Covid cases has added to general unrest over the nation’s economic and social turmoil. President Kais Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced he was taking over. His supporters erupted in celebration, but opponents in parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup.
An attack near the U.S. embassy in Tunisia on Friday was carried out by a man on a motorbike who blew himself up and wounded five police, local radio reported. Armed gunmen have targeted Tunisia in recent years, killing scores of people. Last summer, Islamic State said it was behind three militant blasts in the capital.
Tunisia’s first democratically elected president has died aged 92, reviving fears of a power vacuum before elections in November. Essebsi came to power in 2014, three years after the Arab spring uprising toppled the longtime despot Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and triggered revolts in several Arab countries. In April, he said he did not plan to stand for re-election in polls this year in order to make way for someone younger.
At least 80 migrants are feared dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia. Four people were rescued from the inflatable vessel – which sank in waters near the town of Zarzis – but one died later in hospital, reports said. The three Malians who were rescued said that they had set out from Zuwara in Libya. The country is a main departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe.