Tunisia protesters trash union offices

2014-04-03 11:19


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ben Guerdane - Protesters on Wednesday ransacked the offices of Tunisia's main workers' union in the tense town of Ben Guerdane for not backing a strike demanding the reopening of the Libyan border crossing.

Frustration has been growing in Ben Guerdane at Tripoli's decision to shut the nearby border post in early March in a bid to stem the trade in smuggled Libyan petrol, on which the local economy depends.

Like many other parts of Tunisia, the southern town suffers from persistent unemployment and lack of opportunity, driving factors behind the 2011 revolution that toppled a decades-old dictatorship.

Dozens of youths stormed the UGTT headquarters, throwing documents and furniture into the road and setting them on fire, while also torching equipment inside the building, an AFP photographer said.

Witnesses said the assailants fled when the police arrived.

The UGTT condemned the "orchestrated aggression," saying it had warned the authorities of a possible attack and accused them of doing nothing to prevent it.

Redistribution of wealth

The powerful group insisted it supported the aspirations of the local population, namely "development, employment and the fair redistribution of wealth".

But it did not support an indefinite strike called on Monday by a group of residents in Ben Guerdane who are demanding the reopening of the Ras Jedir border crossing, Tunisia's main gateway to Libya.

A number of shops and schools remained closed on Wednesday.

The World Bank said in December that 20% of the active population in Ben Guerdane work in the contraband business, making it one of, if not the largest employer in the region.

The Tunisian government has vowed to eliminate trafficking and parallel trade, which Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said during a visit to the southeast last month caused "huge losses" to the economy.

Ben Guerdane was rocked by a week of clashes between police and protesters in January last year, after a similar closure of the Ras Jedir border crossing.
Read more on:    north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.