Tunisia lifts state of emergency imposed after tourist massacre

AFP , Friday 2 Oct 2015

File Photo: Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi (Photo: Reuters)

A state of emergency imposed in Tunisia after a jihadist gunman massacred 38 foreign tourists in June is set to be lifted, the president's office announced Friday.

"The state of emergency announced on July 4 and extended on July 31 ends today, October 2," Beji Caid Essebsi's office said.

"It had been extended for two months and this period ends" at midnight, presidency spokesman Moez Sinaoui told AFP, without elaborating.

On July 4, eight days after the shooting spree at the Mediterranean resort of Port El Kantaoui north of Sousse, Essebsi ordered a state of emergency for an initial 30 days.

On July 31, the president's office announced the measure would be extended for two months.

The state of emergency was one of a raft of measures introduced by the authorities after the seaside massacre, which dealt a heavy blow to Tunisia's key tourism industry.

The June 26 attack killed 30 Britons, three Irish, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and a Russian.

Afterwards, the government began arming tourism police for the first time and reinforced them with troops in an attempt to reassure foreign governments.

A state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and army, was in force for three years up until March 2014, following longtime secular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ouster in a 2011 revolution.

Apart from allowing the barring of strike action, the measure authorised the authorities to raid homes at any time of the day and to keep tabs on the media.

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