Violent demonstrations broke out in several Tunisian cities on Sunday as protesters voiced their anger over the deteriorating health, economic and social situation in the country.
Thousands defied virus restrictions and scorching heat – more than 50 ° C (122 ° F) in some regions – to demonstrate in the capital, Tunis, and other cities.
The predominantly young crowd chanted slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections.
Later on Sunday, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied suspended parliament and sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.
Saied said he would take executive power with the assistance of a new prime minister.
The protests were called on the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence by a newly formed movement on July 25th.
Security forces were deployed in large numbers, particularly in Tunis, where police blocked all roads leading to the main artery, Avenue Bourguiba.
The avenue was a key site of the Tunisian revolution a decade ago that overthrew a dictatorial regime and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings across the region.
Security forces were also scattered around Parliament to prevent demonstrators from entering.
Police used tear gas to disperse some demonstrators and made several arrests.
Clashes also occurred in several other cities, notably in Nabeul, Sousse, Kairouan, Sfax and Tozeur.