Tunisia imposes nationwide curfew after protests over unemployment

Tunisia imposed a night-time curfew across the country on Friday following violent protests against unemployment.

The curfew started at 8 pm (1900 GMT) on Friday and was to last until 5 am, the Interior Ministry said, following attacks on public and private property during protests that erupted earlier this week and spread to several parts of the country.

"The continuation of these acts poses dangers to the security of the country and the citizens," the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

The demonstrations started this week in the western central province of Kasserine, and have spread to other areas including the capital, Tunis.

Protesters attacked police posts and torched security cars in Tunis, the north-western city of Jendouba and the northern province of Kairouna late Thursday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

Several stores and two banks were looted in Tunis' impoverished western district of Ettadhamen.  

Clashes meanwhile erupted between protesters and security forces in the central city of Sidi Bouzaid, the birthplace of the 2010 uprising that deposed longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, local media said. No casualties were reported.

The government will hold a crisis meeting on Saturday to discuss measures to calm the protesters, a cabinet official told dpa without giving details.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebs said external forces and malicious hands targeted the security and stability of Tunisia.

In Kasserine on Sunday, an unemployed youth reportedly suffered a deadly electric shock when he climbed a power pole to protest against a rejected job application.

His death was reminiscent of the December 17, 2010, self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzaid that sparked anti-government protests across Tunisia, which then spread across North Africa and the Middle East.

A policeman was killed in Kasserine's town of Feriana on Wednesday when his car overturned during clashes with protesters.

In a bid to ease tensions in Kasserine, the government unveiled measures, including the creation of 5,000 jobs and the financing of small-scale projects there.

Unemployment rates in Tunisia are estimated to have reached about 15 per cent against 12 per cent in 2010.

Tunisia is widely seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring uprisings.

However, the country has been in the grip of an economic slowdown resulting from the unrest that followed Ben Ali's overthrow.

Tunisia is also struggling to control a militant insurgency. Tourism, one of country's main sources of income, has been hard hit by terrorist attacks. 

Last update: Sun, 24/01/2016 - 00:35

More from World

Dozens of Iraqi civilians found dead outside of Mosul, the UN says

The bullet-ridden bodies of dozens of civilians have reportedly been found near Mosul by Iraqi security services,...

Turkey now top 10 destination for German arms amid refugee crisis

Turkey has jumped into the top 10 in the rankings of destinations for German arms exports as Ankara responds to...

Ground operation possible in Iraq, Turkish foreign minister says

Turkey would consider sending ground troops into Iraq, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Philippine leader resumes rebuke of US after arrival in Japan

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the United States soon after arriving in Japan Tuesday evening, calling...

Vatican: Cremating the dead is OK, but scattering of ashes is not

Catholics must not scatter the ashes of the dead or keep them at home, the Vatican reiterated in guidelines Tuesday...