Tunisians protest planned visit by Saudi crown prince

Tunis: Around 100 people protested in Tunisia on Monday against a planned visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Tunisia’s presidency has said the de facto Saudi ruler would visit the North African nation for several hours on Tuesday as part of a regional tour, without providing details on the programme.

Saudi Arabia has faced intense global criticism over the killing of insider-turned-critic Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate on October 2.

He was reportedly dismembered in what Saudi Arabia said was a “rogue” operation, but CIA analysis leaked to the US media pointed the finger at Prince Mohammed.

“No to the desecration of Tunisia, country of the revolution” read a large banner displayed at the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, depicting a man in traditional Saudi dress holding a chainsaw with his back to the camera.

Around 100 people on Monday night attended a demonstration in central Tunis called by the journalists’ union and several NGOs and civil society organisations.

They held up banners that read “Bin Salman, war criminal”, and “Child hangman”.

A poster hanging from the facade of the headquarters of the Democratic Women Association depicted a Saudi man holding a whip with a caption saying “The executioner of women is not welcome”.

In an open letter to Tunisia’s presidency, the journalists’ union slammed “the visit of the Saudi crown prince, which constitutes a danger for the safety and the peace of the region and the world, and a real threat to freedom of expression”.

His arrival, the union said, would be “a flagrant violation of the principles of our revolution”.

Other protests — organised by student bodies — are planned at midday (1100 GMT) on Tuesday in Tunis and the city of Sfax.

Tunisia’s 2011 uprising deposed longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab Spring.

The Saudi crown prince is on his first foreign tour since the Khashoggi affair erupted, taking in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt ahead of Tunisia.

Saudi Arabia has warned criticism of Prince Mohammed is a “red line”.

[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]