8 February 2013

Tunisia: General Strike in Regions and Symbolic Funeral of Martyr Chokri Belaïd

Tunis — The General strike decreed by the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) was observed on Friday in the different regions of the country after the assassination of political and human rights activist Chokri Belaïd. It was followed by street protests and symbolic funeral of the martyr.

In Ben Arous, all administrative and educational institutions were closed except few services notably the Rades port and medical emergency departments.

In Siliana, all the economic, social and educational activities were suspended, except for necessary services including medial emergencies, bakeries and pharmacies. Besides, a symbolic funeral was organised in front of the Regional Labour Union premises towards the Sidi Msid cemetery.

In Sidi Bouzid, a large number of the civil society representatives, the political parties and residents held a symbolic funeral.

In Gabes, public institutions, banks and shopping centres suspended work in response to the call of the general strike.

In Kebili, a peaceful march was staged with the participation of the representatives of several political parties, associations, citizens and trade union members. Demonstrators headed to the premises of the Unified Democratic Patriotic Party where a symbolic funeral was observed. Administrations and public services were closed.

In Sfax, the strike included the different sectors and a massive peaceful march was staged by political parties, representatives of the civil society, activists and union members of the region.

In Gafsa, administrations and public services as well as public transport suspended activities except for the regional hospital emergency. Shopping centres were also closed. In front of the General Labour Union premises, a rally of workers was staged to denounce "violence and political assassinations", followed by a march issued by the Popular Front, political parties representatives, who chanted slogans calling for "the completion of the Revolution of dignity and freedom."

In Beja, the Regional Labour Union as well as several components of the civil society in the region, held a symbolic funeral in tribute to slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid. After the street protesr, clashes erupted between security forces and several youths gathered in the region's municipality square.

In Sousse, a peaceful march was held by the residents who held a symbolic funeral of martyr Chokri Belaid. A general strike was also observed in the region.

In Jendouba, most of the local administrations responded to the general strike. A massive march was also staged. The protesters recited the Fatiha (verses of the Koran) in memory of late Chokri Belaid and the martyrs of the national movement. Groups of looters tried to break into some stores, while others rushed to the governorate and threw stones at the security forces who managed to control the situation and disperse these groups by using tear gas.

In Nabeul, a march was staged along with a symbolic funeral. A group of youths attacked the police station and threw stones on the security forces who used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

In Kairouan, a peaceful march was staged with the participation of several political parties and the civil society, citizens and youths shouting slogans denouncing the assassination of martyr chokri Belaid. All the administrations were closed except few vital shops.

In Kasserine, The public and educational establishments, the post offices and banks suspended their work, except the health services, pharmacies, bakeries and few shops. "Political executives, representative of the civil society, lawyers and citizens headed towards the capital to attend the funerals of late Chokri Belaid" Secretary-General of the Regional Labour Union said to TAP news agency correspondent.

In Zaghouan, administrations and industrial firms were closed to respond to the general strike.

In Mahdia, a peaceful march was staged followed by a symbolic funeral of martyr chokri Bélaid with the participation of representatives of the civil society and citizens.

In the Governorate of Medenine, a large number of citizens, representatives of the civil society and political parties' activists organised, Friday, symbolic funerals of martyr Chokri Belaïd, in Zarzis, Médenine and Djerba.

Protest marches were staged in Medenine and Djerba. The participants chanted slogans denouncing violence and Ennahdha party.

Besides, the public establishments, banks and shopping centres were closed, while pharmacies, bakeries, hospitals and small shops continued to work.

In the Governorate of Tataouine, political parties and associations as well as trade union members observed a sit-in on the "people square" during which the participants denounced all form of violence.

In Monastir, the political parties, the components of the civil society, students and citizens staged a peaceful march and organised a symbolic funeral.

In Manouba, administrations were closed as well as banks and shops, notably, the shopping spaces in response to the call of the general strike. Public transport companies also went on strike.

In El Kef Governorate, a peaceful march was staged by the regional co-ordination of the Unified Democratic Patriotic Party and the Regional Labour Union during which a symbolic funeral was organised in tribute to martyr Chokri Belaïd, Secretary-General of the party.

The march stopped in front of the governorate premises were the protesters chanted slogans hostile to the governor of the region and claimed the fall of the government. Clashes erupted between the protesters and the security forces without causing any material or human damages.

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