Military vehicles surrounded the Tunisian parliament building late on Sunday evening, hours after President Kais Saied announced a month-long freeze on parliamentary activities and the resignation of the government in a move that Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi described as a coup, Reuters reported, citing witnesses.
Two witnesses said people gathered nearby cheered the army and chanted the national anthem as its vehicles encircled the parliament building, Reuters added.
On Sunday evening, the Tunisian president issued decisions to remove Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi from office, freeze the work of Parliament for 30 days and lift the immunity of its members, pointing out that these measures should have been taken months ago.
In response, Speaker Ghannouchi accused Saied of "turning against the revolution and the constitution."
These developments come against the backdrop of mass protests that in some places have turned into clashes between protesters and members of the security forces.
Protesters also targeted the headquarters of the Islamist Ennahda party in several cities, to which Ghannouchi belongs and has a parliamentary majority, in an escalation of anger against the ruling system due to the rapid outbreak of Covid-19 and the deteriorating economic, and political situation in the country.