Thousands protest in Tunisia to demand jobs
Thousands protest in Tunisia to demand jobs
Demonstrators gathered at the local branch of the powerful UGTT trade union in Kef, 180 km 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 marginalized 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 rumors 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.
Lebanese election campaign fever turns into clash between Druze parties
- Lebanon's independent Sabaa party talks about exploitation of positions and money.
- Several young men from the Sabaa party demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior.
BEIRUT: Sectarian and partisan polarization resulting from fierce competition for parliamentary seats in Lebanon has led to the first armed clash between two rival Druze parties.
Machine guns were used in the clash between the Progressive Socialist Party, led by MP Walid Jumblatt, and the Lebanese Democratic Party, led by Talal Arslan, which took place on Sunday evening in the city of Choueifat, about 5 km south of Beirut.
The two parties’ leaders acted quickly to calm their supporters.
“When politicians plant seeds of hatred and grudges among people, they commit a crime against citizens who have been breaking bread together for centuries,” Jumblatt said in a tweet.
In a joint statement, the two parties stressed “the need to avoid any steps that could provoke anger among supporters or disturb citizens who look forward to freely exercising their right to vote in an atmosphere of democratic competition.”
The two parties, alongside other parties with supporters in Choueifat, such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese Forces, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Amal Movement, have agreed on “disowning anyone who breaches security, requesting that the security forces intensify their presence in Choueifat, identifying fixed locations until the elections are over, and restraining from carrying out provocative processions.”
Campaigning lasts 24 hours before polling and has seen various kinds of violations of the electoral law.
Several young men from the Sabaa party — a group of independent activists — demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior, carrying banners questioning the ministry’s role in election-related issues.
“Serious violations are taking place because the country is out of control; many are exploiting their positions and pouring (in) their money, and conflicts are happening at grassroots level — people are tearing down photos of candidates and individuals are fighting with one another,” said Gilbert Hobeish on behalf of the demonstrators.
He added: “This is unacceptable, and the minister of interior must take responsibility.”
Hobeish criticized the Electoral Supervisory Commission, saying “it only oversees the civil society or change candidates.”
“We reject this in toto,” he said.
Ali Al-Amin, a candidate on the Shbaana Haki electoral list (who was assaulted last Sunday by Hezbollah supporters in the town of Shaqra because he hung his photo outside his house), held a press conference in the town of Nabatiyah Al-Fawqa and renewed his protest against “the tyranny that silences voices, oppresses liberties and acts on its own will and temperaments, making us feel as if we were in the law of the jungle era.”
He said that “resistance isn’t anyone’s property nor is it one party’s ownership.”
He also called on “the free people of the south to decide which life they wanted and to which homeland and identity they belonged.”
Campaign fever is rising in Lebanon 48 hours before the elections are held for the first time for Lebanese communities in several Arab countries. These elections are to be held 11 days before parliamentary elections take place inside Lebanon.