Curfew Announced In Tunisia Following Youth Protests

In what may be settling into a quick way to incite mass action, an unemployed youth in Tunisia, on Sunday, committed suicide as a protest for being rejected in the running for a government job.

The city of Kasserine was then overrun by young protesters demonstrating for jobs. The situation closely resembled the suicide of one other unemployed youth in Sidi Bouzid, a neighboring town who set himself on fire after police seized produce from his illegal stall and incited a great uprising that overthrew the country’s longtime ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and also later gave rise to the Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa.

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Protesters during the demonstrations facing Army and Police on the Bourguiba Avenue near by the Ministry of Interior. Downtown Tunis. (Mathias Depardon for The Wall Street Journal)

Tunisia on Tuesday declared a curfew in the city following clashes between police and over 1,000 young protesters. This is the second curfew declared by the government in the space of a few weeks. The first curfew was declared after an explosion compromised a bus carrying members of the president’s security guard through the heart of Tunisia’s capital on the 20th of November. The explosion killed at least 12 people and prompted the president to declare a thirty day state of emergency with a nightly curfew beginning at 9pm.

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More than declaring curfews, it is hoped that the government of President Beji Caid Essebsi will do more to provide jobs for the citizens (a promise which former President Ben Ali made at the 2001 protests) and if not, that the youths in Tunisia will find more innovative ways to rise above the system and government than killing themselves.

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