Tunisia declares nationwide curfew over protests

Tunisia declares nationwide curfew following four days of protests over economic conditions as Tunisian prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi gives speech on TV to explain reason of curfew decision that was made by Tunisian government

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters stand in tear gas during clashes with police outside the local government office in Kasserine, Tunisia January 21, 2016

Updated Jan 23, 2016

After four days of protest all over the country over jobs and economic conditions, Tunisia announced a nationwide curfew on Friday.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that a curfew would be imposed from 8 pm to 5 am with immediate effect.

The demonstrations had started on Tuesday in the town of Kasserine after a young man killed himself because he was refused a public sector job.

One policeman has been killed and dozens injured and at least 19 people were arrested in the demonstrations in the capital according to security officials.

The protests spread over several areas in Tunisia including Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid, where tyres were burned in the streets and major thoroughfare were blocked.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gave a speech on TV Friday night and addressed the matter of the protests. 

"There is no dignity without employment, especially when someone is hungry and poor in deprived regions. This is a permanent situation. You can't ask someone who has nothing to eat to wait. But what happened was that after the beginning of these demonstrations, malicious hands intervened." Essebsi said.

Also he explained the reason as to why the Tunisian government declared the curfew.

"Unfortunately some bandits and robbers took advantage of the situation, especially in the suburbs of Tunis, and they robbed and violated private properties and houses and took what they pleased. Due to these reasons, we declared the curfew starting tonight from 8pm until 5am," he said.

The protests have been the worst since the uprising which toppled the president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali five years ago, which was considered as the start of the Arabs Spring.

Tunisia has been shown as a model for democratic progress since the 2011 revolution, but the high costs of life and the lack of job opportunities have led to discontent all across the country.

According to World Bank figures, Tunisia has approximately 700,000 unemployed people, which corresponds to a 15.2% unemployment rate, while 62.3% of new graduates are out of work.

TRTWorld and agencies