Nov 13, 2019 15:57 UTC
  • Protests as Tunisian MP accused of indecency sworn in

Tunisian women have protested outside parliament against the swearing in of a newly elected lawmaker who was caught in an indecent video.

The protesters fear that Zouheir Makhlouf, who walked free after being investigated for alleged sexual harassment and public indecency, will enjoy immunity from prosecution over any future allegations leveled against him by women.

"Stalkers shouldn't make laws," they chanted outside the inaugural session of the new parliament on Wednesday.

A video showing the mustachioed politician sitting in a car with his trousers dropped to his knees was shot last month by a pupil who shared it online alongside accusations of harassment.

Makhlouf, who was elected for the Qalb Tounes party of controversial media magnate Nabil Karoui, denies inappropriate conduct and has said he was urinating due to a medical condition.

But the video went viral sparking Tunisia's own #MeToo movement, with sex abuse victims breaking taboos under the hashtag #EnaZeda.

It was inspired by the huge global movement that bloomed in 2017 in the wake of sexual assault allegations by multiple women against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Article 68 of the Tunisian constitution provides that no sitting MP can be "arrested or tried for their opinions... or for actions taken in connection with their parliamentary duties," a formulation that in theory excludes allegations of sexual impropriety.