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The New Arab

Tunisia imposes curfew in western city after youth protests

Scores were injured after protesters clashed with police [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 January, 2016

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Tunisia declared a curfew in the western city of Kasserine on Tuesday after unemployed youth protests turned into clashes that left scores injured including three police officers.

Tunisian authorities declared a curfew in the western city of Kasserine on Tuesday evening, after unemployed youth protests turned into clashes that left scores injured including three police officers.

The protests started on Sunday after a young man killed himself by scaling up an electricity transmission tower to protest his rejection for a government job.

The city was relatively calm on Monday after the Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid sacked the deputy governor of Kasserine province and ordered an investigation into the manipulation of the employment process for government jobs in the province, which had been demanded by protesters.

However, protests erupted again on Tuesday after another unemployed youth scaled up an electric tower and fell.

Protesters attempted to storm the governorate building and clashed with security forces who fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.

"The protests erupted in all the major neighbourhoods in Kasserine and the police confronted them with force," local activist Mohammad Nasri told The New Arab.

The spokesman for the ministry of interior said police only used force after protesters attempted to storm the governorate building despite the dismissal of the person responsible for manipulating employment applications.

Unemployment rates had risen to 15.3 percent by the end of 2015 compared with 12 percent in 2010, driven by poor economic growth and a decline in investment in both public and private sectors coupled with a rise in the number of university graduates, who now comprise one third of jobless Tunisians.

The self-immolation five years ago by another unemployed youth in the neighboring town of Sidi Bouzid set off a popular uprising that overthrew Tunisia's longtime ruler Zine El Abine Ben Ali, and eventually gave rise to the "Arab Spring" uprisings across North Africa.

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