President accused of attack on its democracy after sacking the country’s prime minister and suspending parliament.
Violent demonstrations broke out on Sunday in several Tunisian cities as protesters expressed their anger at the deterioration of the country’s health, economic and social situation.
Thousands defied virus restrictions and scorching heat – more than 50C (122F) in some regions – to demonstrate in the capital Tunis and other cities.
The mostly young crowds chanted slogans calling for the dissolution of Parliament and early elections.
Later on Sunday, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied suspended Parliament and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.
Saied said he would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister.
The protests were called on the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence by a newly formed July 25 Movement.
Security forces deployed in large numbers, especially in Tunis where police blockaded all streets leading to the main artery, Avenue Bourguiba.
The avenue was a key site for the Tunisian revolution a decade ago that brought down a dictatorial regime and unleashed the Arab Spring uprisings across the region.
Security forces also deployed around Parliament, preventing demonstrators from accessing it.
Police used tear gas to disperse some demonstrators and made several arrests.
Clashes also took place in several other towns, notably in Nabeul, Sousse, Kairouan, Sfax and Tozeur.