23 January 2016

Tunisia: Cautious Calm After Night-Time Curfew Imposed

Tunis — The situation appeared calmer Saturday in Tunisia, after a nationwide night-time curfew was declared, while demonstrations continued in some regions at the 7th day of social protests over jobs and development.

In the city of Kasserine, the birthplace of protests, protesters, on Saturday morning, observed a sit-in at the Martyrs' Square.

Unemployed people also took in the street in the delegations of Thala, El Ayoune, Jedliet, Feriana, Hassi El Frid and Hidra.

In Regueb, Governorate of Sidi Bouzid, protesters called for the release of people arrested in Friday's clashes with security forces.

Despite these protests, the security situation has "improved significantly," Minister of the Interior Hedi Mejdoub told TAP, saying, however, that the curfew will be maintained until calm is restored.

The Police have suffered significant damage, he stressed.

26 police vehicles were damaged and 9 police stations were ransacked, he said.

The department will bring to justice any person involved in these acts, he warned.

The Interior Ministry's press officer said, for his part, that 423 people have been arrested for "violence and looting" across the territory since the eruption of social protests.

Politically, Prime Minister Habib Essid told reporters after an emergency Cabinet meeting his government will remain mobilised, without, however, announcing any concrete measures.

In his TV address on Friday evening, President Beji Caid Essebsi had accused "dirty hands, known for feeding violence and misbehaviour"

"Investigations have not concluded to any connection between political parties and these events," Minister in charge of Relations with Constitutional Bodies and the Civil Society Kamel Jendoubi, however, said.

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