On Sunday, October 3, thousands gathered in downtown Tunis in support of President Kais Saied’s recent decisions suspending Parliament and expanding the powers of the Presidency. Supporters crowded in front of the National Theater on Habib Bourguiba Avenue from about 8:00 to 16:00 in response to an anti-Kais Saied demonstration one week earlier in the same place.
While Sunday’s pro-Saied demonstration appeared slightly smaller at its peak than the anti-Saied demonstration last week, it was difficult to gauge total numbers given the length of the demonstration, with many coming and going throughout the day.
“Kais Saied will grant us the comfort and freedom we are seeking, and the suspension of the parliament is a popular demand,” 48-year-old demonstrator Anis told Meshkal.
Demonstrators said they were there to celebrate, with one popular chant: “We’re celebrating! This is Just the Beginning and There’s More to Come,” (Mabrouk Aleyna Hedhi al Bidaya wa Mazal Mazal), while others sang traditional folklore songs. Many also chanted “The People Want the Dissolution of Parliament” as well as against head of Parliament and the Ennahdha party Rached Ghannouchi with the chant “Oh Ghannouchi, Your Ship Has Sailed.”
“Kais Saied is an honest man and for that we trust him. We got your back, mister president.” said one 58-year-old supporter of the President who declined to give his name and only introduced himself as an artist, claiming that his words represent all Tunisians.