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Tunisia’s president has fired the prime minister and suspended parliament following violent mass protests across the country on Sunday.

Anger over the government’s handling of a recent surge in Covid cases has added to general unease about the Tunisia’s economic and social woes. President Kais Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced his intention to take over. His supporters erupted in joy, but his opponents in parliament accused him of staging a coup. On Monday, clashes between rival groups continued.

They flung stones at each other outside the legislature, which is surrounded by troops who have also barred workers from entering some government facilities.

Tunisia's PM removed over COVID protest

Mr. Saied, an independent, has had a long-running battle with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, whom he has dismissed. Mr. Mechichi holds the support of Ennahda, the largest party in parliament.

Tunisia’s 2011 revolution is widely cited as the lone victory of the Arab Spring revolts, yet it has not resulted in economic or political stability. The latest coronavirus outbreak has heightened public dissatisfaction. After a failed vaccination campaign, the health minister was fired last week.

Thousands of Tunisians rallied against the Prime Minister and Ennahda, the country’s moderate Islamist ruling party, on Sunday. Its local headquarters in Touzeur, in the southwest, were set on fire.

Last week, the number of deaths caused by the Coronavirus in Tunisia set a new high, surpassing 300 in a single 24-hour period. Tunisia has one of the world’s highest per capita death rates.Vaccination has been slow: only 7% of the population of 11.7 million has been properly vaccinated.

Tunisia's PM removed over COVID protest

During the Eid al-Adha holiday, the administration attempted to speed up vaccination by making it available to everyone above the age of 18. However, the operation devolved into chaos, with stampedes, supply shortages, and violent occurrences.

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