First Published: 2017-04-20

Thousands protest unemployment in Tunisia
Northeastern Tunisians take to streets to voice anger over government’s ‘broken promises’ to develop region plagued by unemployment, poverty.
Middle East Online

Protest follows recent demonstrations against government by law students

KEF - Thousands protested in northeastern Tunisia on Thursday to mark a general strike over unemployment and poverty, six years since a revolution ignited by similar grievances.

Demonstrators gathered at the local branch of the powerful UGTT trade union in Kef, 180 kilometres (110 miles) west of Tunis, before marching down the main streets.

"Work, freedom, dignity!" they shouted. "Kef has the right to development!"

They denounced the government over "broken promises" to develop the region.

"This demonstration and strike are important, raising a cry of anger in the face of a situation that cannot last," teacher Rached Salhi said.

Government offices, private companies, shops and cafes were closed and shuttered. Only hospitals, pharmacies and bakeries remained open.

Kamel Saihi, deputy chief of the UGTT's regional office, said governments had marginalised the northeastern region.

"It has been ignored by successive governments since the revolution and (current Prime Minister) Youssef Chahed did the same thing," he said.

Similar protests have rocked other parts of Tunisia in recent weeks, including the southern province of Tataouine and the central region of Kairouan.

The Kef protests were triggered by rumours that a major factory there was set to be relocated to Hammamet, a more developed coastal region.

Six years since a revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has not been able to resolve the issues that sparked the uprising -- including poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Last year saw major protests in the impoverished region of Kasserine following the death of a young person during a demonstration over unemployment.

In October, protesters in the central region of Gafsa shut down two key phosphate mines in a weeks-long dispute over jobs.

 

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Gemstone purchase essential for Najaf pilgrims

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq

US, Iranian top diplomats confront each other for first time

Air strikes kill 22 civilians in northwest Syria in 48 hours

Iranian supreme leader lashes out at Trump UN speech

Thousands of Huthi supporters mark 3 years since Sanaa takeover

Iraq attacks all remaining IS territory at once

Moscow accuses US of hitting Syrian regime forces

Turkey jails lawyers representing hunger striking teachers

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote

Syrian Kurds to hold first local elections in federal push

Qatari expats lauded as statesmen by Arab critics

Shipwreck off Libyan coast leaves over 100 migrants missing

Will Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish state translate into action?

US ups the ante on Iraq Kurds

Macron: Iran nuclear deal no longer enough

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge

Scores of Iraqis missing during war against ISIS

Netanyahu rejects calls for mixed gender worship at Western Wall

Russia accuses US of missile treaty breach

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech

Saudi Arabia hopes Kurdish referendum will not take place

Saudi invites women to sports stadium for first time

Saudi set to create $2.7 billion investment company

Humanitarian disaster grips Yemen three years since Houthi takeover

What will become of Iraq’s Hawija after ISIS?

Multi-ethnic Kirkuk tense ahead of referendum

UN awaits Iran’s defence against Trump nuclear deal threats

US-backed SDF seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa

Man hanged in Iran for rape, murder of child