General strike in Tunisia city over jobs

 

More than a thousand people demonstrated Tuesday in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine during a general strike to denounce marginalisation and demand development and jobs, an AFP correspondent said.

The city some 500 kilometres (200 miles) south of Tunis on the edge of the desert has been the scene of several protests over the past fortnight.

The general strike went ahead despite measures announced Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed after meeting ministers, industry and union leaders and regional representatives.

A ministerial delegation had visited Tataouine on April 4 but with no tangible effect.

On Tuesday, cafes, shops and public buildings closed, although pharmacies, bakeries and hospitals remained open.

Demonstrators chanted slogans including “Employment is a right, not a favour” and “No to the decline of our rights”.

“I am famished. I eat dry bread. I am needy. I can’t take it any more. I’m fed up. We no longer have any alternative,” Fathi Azlouk, an unemployed man in his 50s, told AFP.

The measures announced by Chahed on Monday include opening up of petroleum companies’ representations in the region, asphalting roads and a cabinet meeting in Tataouine next month.

Six years after Tunisia’s revolution sparked the Arab Spring, the country has yet to resolve problems such as poverty, unemployment and corruption that led to the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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