Tunisia job protests spread to capital

Around 1,000 people took part in the demonstration, called by independent trade union activists, the first time a recent spate of protests has reached the capital.

Tunisia job protests spread to capital


Tunisian police used batons on Monday to disperse a demonstration by jobless graduates demanding work and what they called an end to corruption, the first time a recent spate of protests has reached the capital.

Around 1,000 people took part in the demonstration, called by independent trade union activists. Security forces prevented them from marching towards a main Tunis thoroughfare.

A Reuters reporter saw at least a dozen protesters sustaining light injuries from police batons, mainly to the head. Some others fainted.

Protests are rare in Tunisia, which has been run for 23 years by President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and works closely with Western governments, but have been gathering force in recent weeks.

The Tunis protest followed the deadly shooting by police of a jobless graduate in Bouziane, south of Tunis, last Friday. Clashes broke out earlier this month in the town of Sidi Bouzid after a man committed suicide in a protest about unemployment. The protests later spread to several neighbouring cities such as Sousse, Sfax and Meknassi.

One young woman at the Tunis demonstration told Reuters: "Our demand is employment...We are here to support the youth of Sidi Bouzid and demand work".

The protesters chanted slogans such as "We need work" and "Stop the corruption", and carried banners including one that read "Free Sidi Bouzid's prisoners".

Officials have declined to say how many people were detained over the clashes in Sidi Bouzid.

Tunisia remains relatively prosperous compared to African peers but several international right groups say its government crushes dissent, an accusation it denies.

The North African country has become a regional focus for international financial institutions since announcing a plan to complete current account convertibility of its dinar currency over the 2010-2012 period.


Reuters

Last Mod: 28 Aralık 2010, 16:30
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