Two policemen were wounded and 47 people arrested during clashes yesterday between street vendors and police authorities in the centre of Tunis, according to the Interior Ministry.
The incident occurred during a rally of around 300 people outside the headquarters of the Tunisian General Union of Labour (UGTT), the protest was being held against the local authorities’ decision to prohibit street stalls from operating.
According to the ministry, the police intervened causing the situation to escalate into clashes with protesters throwing stones at the officers resulting in damaged vehicles. The ministry has confirmed that an investigation will be opened into the clashes.
One protester complained about the “showdown” committed by the authorities against the working poor and denounced the failed promises of the governor of Tunis, Omar Mansour.
The clashes are believed to be a result of a campaign launched in June against anarchic stalls, which have proliferated since the 2011 revolution in a social context marked by poverty and unemployment.
The governorate of Tunis has given street vendors an ultimatum of five days to evacuate the areas. Other municipalities including La Marsa, in the suburbs of Tunis, or Sousse have launched similar campaigns.