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Tunisia cabinet confirms reshuffle after protester dies

Tunisian protestors clash with police officers as they violate the curfew imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic, during a protest against living conditions and unemployment at At-Tadaman district in the capital Tunis, Tunisia on January 15, 2021 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian protestors clash with police officers as they violate the curfew imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic, during a protest against living conditions and unemployment at At-Tadaman district in the capital Tunis, Tunisia on January 15, 2021 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia's cabinet will undergo a reshuffle under pressure from mass anti-government demonstrations, the Nationalreported.

The decision comes after a protester died during clashes with police last night.

Haykel Rachdi, 20, was killed during clashes last night when he was hit with a tear gas canister after joining protests in central Tunisia town of Sbeitla, his family said.

A post mortem to determine the cause of Rachdi's death has been ordered by the public prosecutor in the nearby town of Kasserine, the state news agency TAP reported.

Following the news of Rachidi's death, a group of angry protesters were embroiled in further clashes when they attempted to storm and torch the local police station, the report added.

President Kais Saied said yesterday he would oppose the cabinet reshuffle, which he sees as unconstitutional on procedural grounds.

Saied also condemned the absence of women from the list of prospective new ministers and claimed some of the new cabinet members could have conflicts of interest.

Despite the president's claims, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi is expected to win a vote of confidence for his administration today.

Tunisia: Ennahda representative Meherzia Labidi dies from coronavirus

The National said Mechichi's was likely to receive the confidence vote due to parliamentary unease at the prospect of a national election in the midst of mass anti-government protests and the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of protesters are expected to gather outside the Bardo Palace today to reject the government's response to the mass protests, a statement from Tunisia's civil society organisations said yesterday.

Anti-government protests broke out across Tunisia in mid-January, coinciding with the ten-year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Sidi Bouzid.

More than 600 demonstrators have been arrested during the protests, including at least 200 who were apprehended last week after "riots" targeted public and private property, an official in the Tunisian Ministry of Interior said at the time.

Tunisia's Ennahda movement has condemned violence and vandalism during the ongoing protests, saying it sees the events as a symptom of the deteriorating social and economic situation.

The army intervened to protect state infrastructure in the early days of the ongoing protests.

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