Marginalized southern Tunisia sees protesters clash with police over jobs, services

A Tunisian demonstrator speaks to a police officer during a gathering, to demand the release of detained protesters who were tried for disrupting public order, in front of the local court in Tataouine on June 23, 2020. (AFP)

Tunisian youths clashed with police overnight in a town in Tunisia’s deprived south, where a protest movement is demanding jobs and services, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

“Several hundred people” gathered Tuesday night in front of a local security forces facility in Douz, 475 kilometers (295 miles) south of the capital Tunis, to protest disrupted water supplies, ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni told AFP.

Demonstrators also came out in support of a growing protest movement underway in Tataouine, 200 kilometers southeast of Douz, where protesters are demanding authorities make good on a 2017 promise to provide jobs.

Tunisian protesters clash with security forces as they demonstrate in the southern city of Tataouine on June 22, 2020. (AFP)

Tunisian protesters clash with security forces as they demonstrate in the southern city of Tataouine on June 22, 2020. (AFP)

Protesters in Douz burned tires and threw rocks at security forces, who responded with tear gas, Hayouni said.

Calm was restored by Wednesday morning, he added.

Local private radio station Mosaique FM reported that officers were injured and patrol cars damaged.

Marginalized regions

Southern Tunisia is one of the country’s most marginalized regions, with unemployment above the national average, failing public infrastructure and a stunted private sector.

Ten years after the revolution that toppled Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, the government is yet to address this regional inequality.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app

On Sunday and Monday, police in Tatouine clashed with protesters denouncing the government’s unkept promises.

For weeks they have blocked roads and sought to prevent trucks from delivering supplies to the remote El-Kamour pumping station, one of the main sites for Tunisia’s small oil industry.

Tunisian protesters block a road leading to the center of Tataouine on June 23, 2020, during a gathering to demand the release of detained protesters who were tried for disrupting public order. (AFP)

Tunisian protesters block a road leading to the center of Tataouine on June 23, 2020, during a gathering to demand the release of detained protesters who were tried for disrupting public order. (AFP)

The protesters insist the government honor an agreement reached after a months-long 2017 sit-in, pledging to hire thousands of unemployed workers and invest millions in the region’s development.

They are also demanding the release of a protest leader arrested overnight on Saturday and charged with “participating in a gathering likely to disturb the peace.”

A special cabinet meeting is scheduled for Friday on the situation in Tataouine, coming as the government faces tensions within its coalition.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 24 June 2020 KSA 20:36 - GMT 17:36
Top