Tunisian police have clashed with unemployed youths protesting in the southern city of Ben Guerdane as another group of protesters marched peacefully in the central town of Meknessi to demand work opportunities and development projects.
Local residents said police clashed on Thursday with protesters in Ben Guerdane’s center.
The protesters threw rocks as well as petrol bombs and set tires on fire.
“Police are firing tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of youths who are protesting in the center of the town demanding work,” Fethi Chandoul, a local resident, told media.
Residents and local media said shops and offices were also closed for a general strike in Ben Guerdane.
Elsewhere, thousands of protesters marched peacefully in the central town of Meknessi to demand better work opportunities for the youth population of the town.
A general strike took effect on Thursday in Meknassi, which is about fifty kilometers from Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, itself the cradle of the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
After the 2011 uprising, Tunisia emerged as a model of peaceful democratic transition across the Arab world, where uprisings since 2011 have mostly been brutally suppressed.
However, economic progress, particularly in marginalized towns in southern and central rural regions, where farming remains one of the few sources of income, has failed to match the country’s political advances, and tensions often flare over unemployment.
By Africafrique and agencies