Unemployment protests spread to several towns in Tunisia
Jan 22, Tunis: Protests over youth unemployment rates in Tunisia have spread to several towns and cities, leading to the death of a policeman in the town of Feriana.
Solidarity rallies were held in cities including Tunis, Sidi Bouzid and Gafsa on Thursday, with several reports of suicide attempts as frustration over the lack of jobs boiled over, media reports said.
Protests and clashes with security forces started in Kasserine on Saturday after the death of an unemployed man who was electrocuted on top of a power pole near the governor's office.
Ridha Yahyaoui, 28, was protesting because his name was removed from a list of hires for coveted public sector jobs.
According to the reports, the government has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
The city of Kasserine is near the Algerian border, and like in many of the country's peripheries, locals feel neglected by the government.
A crowd of hundreds gathered outside the governor's office in Kasserine to demand information on a government announcement the previous day of plans to create 5,000 jobs. The average rate of unemployment was about 15 percent in Tunisia but that in Kasserine it was higher, at 30 percent.
Police have fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, and at least one policeman died in clashes near Kasserine on Wednesday.
The Oslo Times