Gafsa — Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki met, on Thursday, inhabitants of the delegations of Redaief, Metlaoui, Mdhilla and Om Larayes, Governorate of Gafsa.
President Marzouki said the era of marginalisation of this region is over and there is a political will to rehabilitate the region by providing a solution to development issues, first and foremost unemployment.
He called on the local inhabitants to help the State and protect the administrative and security institutions to ensure stability, allow the implementation of projects announced by the Government and create an adequate climate to attract Tunisian and foreign investment.
Meetings were held in the culture centres of Redaief, Metlaoui and Mdhilla. Disorder and poor organisation, however, marked President Marzouki's visit to Om Larayes.
Groups of citizens massed outside the culture centre and the phosphate washing unit, preventing the President of the Republic from delivering his address or listening to citizens' complaints.
Slogans claiming the right to employment and denouncing the marginalisation of Om Larayes were shouted during the gathering.
Inhabitants also called for the re-opening of the security departments and the headquarters of the delegation in the city.
In Redaief, President Marzouki went to the Cemetery of Sidi Abdelkader where he laid down a wreath and recited the Fatiha in memory of martyr Hafnaoui Maghzaoui who was hit by a police bullet on June 6, 2008 during the events of the mine basin.
"Tunisia is grateful to the inhabitants of Redaief and the mine basin. They are those who had led the way to the Revolution of January 14 by their fight against marginalisation and unemployment in 2008," said President Marzouki.
Trade union activist Adnene Hajji said the region of the mine basin still faces several problems, citing, in particular, marginalisation and unemployment. "These problems have not been solved with the current Government despite the repeated rounds of negotiations," said Mr. Hajji.
Inhabitants of Metlaoui called, through slogans, for the creation of a governorate for the mine region with Metlaoui as principal city.
Claims of inhabitants of Mdhilla focused on strengthening the drinking water network, employment and promotion of agriculture in the region.