Tunisia bans book comparing Saied to Frankenstein’s monster – Middle East Monitor

A book stand at a literature fair in Tunis was shut down by authorities because one of the books on display compared the president to Frankenstein’s monster.

Kais Saied had told reporters at the start of the fair that “it is important to liberate thinking because we cannot accomplish anything with rigid thoughts.”

But not long after his speech, security forces ordered that the Dar El-Kitab stand be closed, accusing it of “possession of an unauthorised book” and confiscated Kamal Riahi’s work The Tunisian Frankenstein.

The next day, security agents removed another book from another stand, this one by journalist Nizar Bahloul, which is also critical of the president.

“Kaies, president of a drunken boat,” is now being censored despite being published and circulated freely up until now.

READ: Tunisia: Migrant bodies exceed hospital capacity

Censorship is growing in Tunisia despite the gains of the Arab Spring when it became one of the Arab world’s most free countries in terms of press freedoms.

Under the current president television programmes have been censored and opposition politicians not invited onto state television.

Journalists have been detained and harassed and tv stations taken off air.

Saied came to power in 2019 and two years later sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and pushed through a new constitution giving the head of state full executive control and supreme command of the army.

Since then protesters have gathered at various times to demand Saied’s resignation, but the president has intensified his crackdown and has even detained politicians and judges.

In February Saied drew international condemnation when he accused black Africans in the country of being part of a plot to inspire democratic change in Tunisia.

A wave of violence followed and armed mobs attacked black people in the street, many were kicked out of their homes and lost their jobs and people caught talking to the media were arrested.

The president began denouncing international organisations and singling out activists who were accused of receiving funding from abroad.

READ: Tunisia finds more bodies of immigrants, bringing total to 210 in 10 days

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