Tunisia holds emergency cabinet session over unrest, clashes

Tunisia holds emergency cabinet meeting over massive unrest and clashes following nationwide curfew

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid leads an emergency cabinet meeting on January 23, 2016 in Tunis.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid held an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, following a nationwide curfew imposed after a massive outbreak of civil protest against the government in the country.

The cabinet session comes after Essid -earlier this month- reshuffled his cabinet, replacing the foreign and interior ministers, since he took office in late 2014.

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

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

The protests have been the worst, since the uprising toppled the President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, five years ago, which started the Arab uprisings.

Calmness returned in towns rocked by clashes between protesters and police in recent days according to AFP reporters.

Prime Minister Essid met his defence and interior ministers before the cabinet emergency session.

"Security-wise, it has started to stabilise," interior ministry spokesman Walid Louguini told AFP, echoing Essid's comments on Friday that the situation had been brought "under control."

Tunisian interior ministry announced that authorities have arrested 261 people over the protest and at least 84 for violating the nationwide curfew on Friday.

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

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

TRTWorld and agencies