Tunisia protests against Saudi crown prince's visit

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TUNIS - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Tunisia on Tuesday, a Tunisian presidency source said.

Arous said the crown prince's tour - his first time overseas since Khashoggi's killing - is aimed at whitewashing his image overseas amid an global outcry over the murder of the Washington Post columnist.

Jared Kushner pushed State and Defense Department officials to pump up the figure with aspirational arms sales following Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, according to a former National Security Council (NSC) official.

Saudi Arabia has said the crown prince had no prior knowledge of the killing.

Bahrain was the second stop in Crown Prince Mohammed's Arab tour, which he kicked off Thursday by visiting the United Arab Emirates.

US President Donald Trump said last week Washington would remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Prince Mohammed may have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi.

The protests were in sharp contrast with earlier parts of his tour of allied countries in the region.

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In Cairo, small crowds of Egyptian supporters chanted slogans in favor of Crown Prince Mohammed, as government officials, including President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, gave him a strong welcome, in what was being billed as his sixth visit to the country since his father became king in 2015.

Egyptian activists and journalists have condemned the visit. The Tunisian journalists' union sent a letter to the president calling it an "attack on the principles" of the 2011 revolution that brought democracy and freedom of expression to Tunisia.

The two royals also inaugurated a new oil pipeline during an event at Sheikh Isa Air Base on Monday. In Europe there have been calls to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and Canada could still be smarting from a diplomatic row sparked by Saudi anger at its criticism over human rights in the kingdom.

Tunisia is a longstanding recipient of Saudi development and aid funds.

Tunisia was a strong Saudi ally under Ben Ali but ties have since been strained at times. The four accused Doha of supporting terrorism and Iran - charges Doha denies.

The crown prince heads to a Group of 20 summit in Argentina this week amid worldwide pressure over the killing.

"The submission also highlights his possible complicity in serious allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of Saudi citizens, including the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi", a statement released by the Human Rights Watch mentioned.

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