News24

Tunisia orders curfew in mining town

2011-03-14 08:47

Tunis - Tunisian authorities have ordered a curfew in a central mining town amid simmering unrest following deadly clashes between police and protesters, the state news agency reported.

The 19:00 to 05:00 curfew, initiated on Saturday, was imposed on Metlaoui, where clashes two days earlier left two people dead and 20 injured, the TAP agency said on Sunday.

Troops dispersed protesters in lingering unrest on Saturday.

The move marked the latest sign of Tunisia's struggle to restore stability after a revolution that ousted autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power and sparked uprisings in the Arab world.

The protests began amid rumours that the regional phosphate mining company was secretly recruiting in a specific tribal area - instead of opening its jobs to the entire local population. Authorities have denied the rumours.

Also on Sunday, several thousand former political prisoners from Ben Ali's era - many of them Islamists - led a peaceful, celebratory demonstration in Tunis along with their relatives, friends and supporters.

The rally, organised by a support group for political prisoners that had been banned under Ben Ali, was made possible by a general amnesty decree by the interim government last month. Advocates of the measure say that it has emptied Tunisia's prisons of political detainees.