Tunisian cities have been marred by violent protestants who are angry about the poor state of the nation’s economy. Some of the cities which experienced the protests include the coastal city of Sousse and the capital Tunis.
Interestingly, the violent protests have come at a time when the country is marking the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring revolution that that brought down the government of late president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The demonstrations began as a reaction to a video that was widely shared on social media platforms. In the video, a police officer is seen mistreating a shepherd for allowing his sheep to roam into local government headquarters. The protests started in Siliana and other cities.
Protesters could be seen lighting fires, building barricades and blocking roads that lead to Tunis.
According to witnesses in Sousse, hundreds of protesters were stopped from burning tyres and blocking roads after they were dispersed using teargas from security officers. Clashes were reported in the city of Kalaa Kebira near Sousse. Authorities revealed that youthful protesters broke into shops in Sousse.
This insurrection of violence is a new challenge for Hicham Mechichi and his government. He recently introduced new ministers into his cabinet including the ministries of interior, justice and energy.
It has been a decade since Tunisia’s great revolution against injustice, poverty, unemployment and corruption. Although the country has greatly improved as a democracy, it is currently on the brink of bankruptcy thanks to its poor public services and a shrinking economy.
Some parts of Tunis also experienced violent protests. They include Sijoumi, Fouchana, Fouchana, Mallassin and Ettadamen. Areas like Kef and Bizerte also experienced night protests.
There were no festivities to commemorate the revolution in the North African nation. In fact, the government ordered citizens to remain at home, imposing a four-day lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Many citizens saw this lockdown as way of stopping demonstrations planned for those four days.
On December 17, 2010, the revolution was unconsciously started by 26-year-old Mohammed Bouazizi; a desperate fruit seller who set himself on fire to protest humiliation by police. He was from Sidi Bouzid, an interior town that has been neglected by the government.
The death of Bouazizi sparked anger towards the government and it was followed by mass demonstrations against repression, joblessness and poverty.