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Tunisia extends state of emergency for another four months

June 15, 2017 at 4:13 am

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi holds a press conference at Conference Palace in Tunis, Tunisia on 10 May 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]

For the first time, Tunisia has prolonged the countrywide state of emergency, which has been in place for more than a year and a half the president’s office announced yesterday.

“Following consultations with Prime Minister Yusuf Al-Shahid and the Parliament Speaker Mohamed Al-Nasser, President Beji Caid Essebsi has decided on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency for four additional months, effective as of Thursday, 15 June” according to a statement issued by the president’s office.

The state of emergency grants emergency powers to the police, and also allows for the prohibition of demonstrations and any gatherings “likely to provoke disorder.” It also allows an adoption of measures to “control the press.”

Read: Tunisia isn’t really tackling corruption says opposition

A temporary state of emergency was firstly imposed in Tunisia following the country’s 2011 popular uprising, which ended the regime of longstanding president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Another state of emergency has been in force since an attack, claimed by Daesh, on the presidential guard on 24 November 2015 in Tunis, which left 12 police officers killed. In wake of the bombing, the president imposed a 30-day state of emergency that has been extended on several occasions, sometimes for a month and others for three.

The last time the state was extended was on 16 May.

The attack was the third to be claimed by Daesh during 2015 in Tunisia. The group also claimed bombings earlier during the year, one was at the Bardo National Museum in March, and the other took place in June at a beach resort near Sousse, leaving a total of 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard killed.