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World Tour: Tunisian authorities arrest government critics


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Tunisian authorities arrest government critics

Plus, Georgia parliament approves the foreign agent law, heavy flash floods devastate Afghanistan, and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan visit Nigeria

The bar association headquarters in Tunis following a police raid and arrest on Tuesday Getty Images/Photo by Fethi Belaid/AFP

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

AUDIO: [Chanting]

Tunisia protests — Today’s World Tour takes off with chanting protesters in Tunisia calling for elections and other democratic freedoms.

Tunisian authorities on Saturday detained two journalists for reportedly making critical comments. They also arrested a lawyer who has criticized Tunisian President Kais Saied.

Saied assumed office in 2019. Two years later, he shut down the parliament, took charge of the judiciary, and began ruling by decree.

Opposition leaders have called for a better political climate with more freedoms and a free press. The country is expected to hold a general election this year, but the Election Commission has not announced a date.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi co-founded the National Salvation Front opposition coalition.

NEJIB CHEBBI: [Speaking French]

He says here that the opposition will boycott the next election if the conditions are unfair.

Tunisian lawyers across the country started to strike on Monday to protest the arrests.

AUDIO: [Protests]

Georgia vote — Next, an update on a story we reported earlier this month. In the European country of Georgia, protesters remained out in the streets on Tuesday after parliament approved a controversial bill tagged as a foreign agent law.

The legislation will require non-government organizations and independent media organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from foreign donors to register as “bearing the interests of a foreign power.”

The Justice Ministry will also monitor them and could require them to share sensitive information.

Supporters have said the bill will help prevent foreign interference in the country’s politics. But critics say it resembles a Russian law that authorities there use to silence independent media and groups.

Nikoloz Samkharadze is a lawmaker in the ruling Georgian Dream party.

SAMKHARADZE: Branding or labeling this law as a Russian law doesn't lead to a constructive engagement, because this law has nothing to do with the Russian law.

Protesters camped outside the parliament overnight ahead of the vote.

Irakli Kakhadze is a 21-year-old student who joined protesters on Monday in the capital city of Tbilisi.

KRAKLI KAKHADZE: [Speaking Georgian]

He says here that students plan to remain on strike until the bill is withdrawn.

Georgia’s president has two weeks to either approve or veto the bill.

AUDIO: [Sound of displaced people setting up tents]

Afghanistan floods — Over in northern Afghanistan, families are still searching for their missing after heavy flash floods last week.

The United Nations has said more than 300 people have died. Rescue workers are still trying to access some of the worst-hit regions, raising concerns that the death toll could rise.

AUDIO: [Truck working]

Damaged roads and bridges have also hindered aid delivery.

Bibi Shereen lost her home in Fulool village.

SHEREEN: [Speaking Dari]

She says she found nothing left when she returned home.

The World Health Organization has warned that water-borne diseases could rise in the flood-affected areas.

Heavy flash floods have also hit Indonesia where at least 43 people have died. And in southern Brazil, flooding killed more than 120 people.

AUDIO: [Welcome music]

Prince Harry in Nigeria — We wrap up in Nigeria, where Prince Harry and his wife Meghan concluded a three-day visit on Sunday.

AUDIO: [Cheers]

The couple dropped by a mental health event at a school in Abuja, joined a basketball event in Lagos, and met with injured Nigerian soldiers in the northwest.

During their visit, Prince Harry spoke about the Invictus Games that he founded several years ago for sick and wounded servicemembers.

HARRY: The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community. And there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.

Nigeria participated in the Invictus Games last year.

That’s it for today’s WORLD Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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