October, 02 2012 12:25:43

Protests, strikes grip central Tunisia

SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia – (VNS) Hundreds of people demonstrated in central Tunisia on Monday against the government's failure to improve living conditions, as teachers went on strike to denounce the arrest of protesters.

In Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of last year's Tunisian revolution, protesters marched through the town to the provincial government headquarters, shouting slogans against the ruling Islamists and demanding the governor's resignation, an AFP correspondent said.

The social unrest also spread to the region of Kasserine, another key site of the 2011 uprising, where a general strike in protest at marginalisation and soaring unemployment paralysed the Laayoune locality.

And a large number of secondary school teachers refused to work on Monday in a gesture of solidarity towards those detained last week.

A dozen people were arrested last Wednesday, after several days of protests against unemployment and the high cost of living, with more activists picked up the following day.

A general strike was held on Saturday in the nearby locality of Menzel Bouzaiane to demand the release of the protesters.

Three MPs from Sidi Bouzid announced that they were starting a hunger strike at the National Constituent Assembly in Tunis to pressure the authorities to free the protesters.

They also demanded, in a statement, a halt to police and judicial proceedings against the protesters and the resignation of the Sidi Bouzid governor.

Sidi Bouzid is where the uprising began that toppled former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and touched off the Arab Spring when a street vendor immolated himself in December 2010 in protest over his own precarious livelihood. Poor living conditions, including high youth unemployment, were a driving factor behind the revolution.

The Sidi Bouzid region, which is home to around 12,000 jobless graduates, often sees protesters taking to the streets to condemn the Islamist-led government for ignoring their grievances and failing to create jobs.

In Laayoune, in the same central-western region, residents responded to the call by trade unionists, NGOs and political parties to march in protest at poverty, unemployment and marginalisation, an AFP journalist reported.

"Laayoune has been marginalised by every regime, by the current one just like the previous ones," said Ounaies Laabidi, a trade union leader speaking at the demonstration. -- AFP

Send Us Your Comments:
Your E-mail address:

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.


Environmental issues hinder new rural areas Environmental issues hinder new rural areas

In the five years since the Government put in place Decision No 49/QD-TTg on 19 criteria for new-style rural areas for the 2010-20 period, the majority of communes across the nation fail to meet the 17th criterion on environment. Both local and central authorities find it difficult to fill all five norms, as set down.

Baby vaccinations remain a cause for concern Baby vaccinations remain a cause for concern

Parents are concerned about post-vaccine reactions after the recent death of babies after receiving Quinvaxem vaccine, although the Health Ministry has repeatedly confirmed the safety of the vaccine.

Photos strengthen confidence of Mong girls Photos strengthen confidence of Mong girls

Wearing her most beautiful dress, Vu Thi Vu smiles broadly as she shows to her friends one of her photos which are on display at the Can Chu Phin secondary school in Meo Vac district of northernmost Ha Giang Province.

Lack of fire safety a risk in high-rises Lack of fire safety a risk in high-rises

Negligence and ignorance of fire safety regulations by both investors and residents at high-rise buildings have again come to the fore following the latest blaze in Ha Noi.