Saturday, January 23, 2016
Curfew in Tunisia after days of unrest over unemployment
Photo Moncef Tajouri/AP
Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid has held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss a wave of protests and rioting over growing unemployment.The meeting on Saturday came a day after the government declared a nationwide curfew after four days of violence.
"People should understand that we can reach a solution, yet this requires a great amount of patience and positiveness. And, as I said, many dark ideologies are taking advantage of the peaceful demonstrations and the enthusiasm of many youth," Essid told a press conference.
"Many enemies do not wish to Tunisia or Tunisians successful. They feel undermined by the democratic process. They are doing all they can to disturb the harmony of our democracy and the historic transition period Tunisia has seen. The transition is inevitable. The transition is irreversible," Essid added.
Thousands of dissatisfied people have taken to the streets in recent days, demanding immediate action against unemployment and poor economic conditions.
Dissatisfaction with the goernment that was supposed to fix a better future for the country is widespread. Protests over unemployment in Tunisia, which started in the western Kasserine province, intensified and spread to other parts of the country on Thursday.
The government is saying that it does not have a quick fix and that it will take sometime before it can meet the people's demands. On Friday, President Beji Caid Essebsi said in a televised address that the government would put a programme in place to try to ease the unemployment rate. He also warned that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in neighbouring Libya may use the unrest in Tunisia to sneak into the country. France will provide $1.1bn over five years to help Tunisia deal with its transition to democracy, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday. One of the options of the Tunisian government is to ask for international help. That is probably one of the reasons why President Essebsi is stressing the fact that groups like ISIL are seizing the opportunity to try to further destabilise Tunisia.
The country's interior ministry said on Saturday that 423 people have been arrested across the country for been involved in acts of violence.