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Tunisia: Demand for release of leaders of protests calling for job

Tunisian chant slogans during a gathering, to demand the release of detained protesters who were tried for disrupting public order, in front of the local court in Tataouine on 23 June, 2020 [FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images]
Tunisian chant slogans during a protest demanding the release of detained protesters in Tunisia on 23 June 2020 [FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images]

Thousands of Tunisian protesters yesterday demanded authorities release Tarek Haddad, spokesman of El Kamour movement.

This came during a march organised by protesters in front of the Court of First Instance in the city of Tataouine, two days after demonstrations that swept the city within the framework of what is known as El-Kamour movement.

Sit-ins held by El Kamour demanded the government to provide job opportunities for unemployed youth and implement development projects in the governorate, in accordance with an agreement concluded in 2017.

According to the Anadolu Agency's correspondent, the protesters raised slogans calling for Haddad's release, including "Free Tarek" and "No to prosecuting members of El-Kamour coordination committee."

Tunisian lawyer, Abdelaziz El-Ayeb, considered that "the trial of Tarek Haddad is clearly political," adding that "the timing of his arrest was aimed at frustrating the protest movement, which will continue against all odds."

READ: Police use tear gas to disperse protests calling for jobs in Tunisia

El-Ayeb stated in an interview with Anadolu Agency: "We do not want the judiciary to serve the executive power, but rather to be an independent authority."

Tataouine governorate has witnessed rising tension between protesters and the security forces for days, as a number of youth in the area staged a sit-in.

On Sunday, Tunisian security forces arrested Haddad while dispersing a sit-in staged by activists of El Kamour movement.

A few days earlier, demonstrators prevented oil trucks and vehicles from passing into the desert, in order to press the government to implement the full provisions of El Kamour agreement.

In June 2017, the Tunisian government and representatives on behalf of the protesters in El Kamour area, Tataouine, signed an agreement to break up a sit-in that lasted for more than two months in exchange for official plans to create jobs and reduce unemployment in the area.

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