Security forces began dispersing protests in the Gafsa region of central Tunisia yesterday afternoon.
Protesters had been staging sit-ins in front of the offices of the governorate of Gafsa and elsewhere in the region since one week ago, demanding job opportunities and improvement of their living conditions.
Security forces told TAP, the Tunisian national press agency, that the decision to end the sit-ins came after numerous complaints from citizens and officials. Work in many public services, administrations, and institutions in the region has been interrupted.
The offices of the governorate of Gafsa were closed to the public by the protests. In addition, bus and taxi stations and both passenger and freight railways were also closed.
So far, security forces have been able to evacuate the protesters’ sit-in in the bus and taxi stations in Gafsa and the train station in Al Kasar city.
Protesters included job seekers, construction workers, taxi drivers trying to obtain permits, and people injured in the revolution of January 14. According to TAP, protesters emphasized “the peaceful nature” of their movement, and expressed anger at the decision to disperse them.
Security sources stated that they had anticipated unfriendly reactions and had taken all necessary precautions. They said they planned on continuing operations over the next several days in order to open blocked roads and to end the disruption of public offices.