Tunisia Imposes Night-Time Curfew After Week of Violent Unrest

  • Premier returning from Davos to lead emergency cabinet meet
  • Demonstrations have echoes of those that led to Arab Spring

Tunisia imposed a nationwide night-time curfew following a week of violent demonstrations over unemployment and poverty sparked by the apparent suicide of a youth who was rejected for a government job.

The curfew will begin at 8 p.m. local time and end at 5 a.m., the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page. The decision was taken after protesters “deviated from their initial objective of demanding employment and the right to work, and following acts of vandalism in certain regions,” it said. Prime Minister Habib Essid is returning early from the World Economic Forum in Davos to lead an emergency cabinet meeting.

Daily protests and clashes with security forces have erupted in towns and cities across the country this week, including in the capital Tunis. The street unrest carries echoes of demonstrations over similar grievances more than five years ago that escalated into a national uprising and, in the months that followed, the region-wide Arab Spring.

While Tunisia has been spared the widespread violence that has since swept neighboring nations including Egypt, Libya and Syria, its economy has been badly hurt by two militant attacks that killed about 60 tourists this year.

The youth whose death led to this week’s protests was killed as he climbed an electrical transmission tower near the governor’s office in the central town of Kasserine on Sunday. A police officer died late Wednesday in Ferianna when his car was overturned.

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