Tunisia – Tunisia announced on Saturday that a state of emergency, in force since a deadly attack on the presidential guard last November, will be extended by one month.
The announcement was made hours after PM Yousef al-Shahid declared the exemption of duties of several officials in Jandouba and Farnana areas following protests in the areas. The protests occurred over a week after a young man set himself on fire in front of Farnana municipality building.
A statement said that after consulting the premier and head of the national assembly, President Beji Caid Essebsi decided that the measure would be extended from September 19 for a month.
The law allows authorities to ban strikes and meetings that might “provoke or maintain disorder”, to temporarily close theaters and bars, and to “take every measure to secure control of the press and all types of publications”.
The incident in Farnana ignited several movements demanding job opportunities and infrastructure maintenance. The protesters also asked for the resignation of Wali of Farnana and other officials.
The protests escalated as demonstrators prevented truck carrying chemical material from entering the water pumping station in Farnana, which provides several surrounding areas with water. The government resorted to force to remove the protesters.
Government fears that several incidents and protests could occur in other areas similar to what happened in the city of al-Kasserine last year when a young man was electrocuted, and later died, after his name was removed from public sector debates.
Tunisian parliament had a session to look into social matters with several deputies calling for the resignation of officials in Farnana including the Wali of Jandouba.
MP Shaker al-Ayadi asked for the removal of Wali of Jandouba from his position stating that he is not fulfilling his duties.
Whereas MP Faisal al-Tabini said that the government is not handling the protests well and called for understanding the demands and listening to what the people want.
Tunisian government had changed officials in several districts including the southern districts where former spokesperson for Ministry of Interior Walid al-Lokini was set in charge.
Hussein al-Khadimi, who is Faculty of Sciences graduate, took the position of Wali of al-Kasserine.
Member of Annahda Movement, Zubeir al-Shohoodi said that there was no determined system in evaluating the performances of officials. He added that the prime minister’s latest announcements and postings are not “reassuring” and lack transparency.