Tunisia lifts nationwide nighttime curfew: Ministry

AFP , Thursday 4 Feb 2016

File photo of Tunisian police blocking the road after the explosion of a bus transporting Tunisia's presidential guard in central Tunis on November 24, 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Tunisia said on Thursday it is lifting a nationwide night-time curfew imposed last month after the worst social unrest witnessed in the country since its 2011 revolution.

"In light of the improvement in the security situation, it was decided that from Thursday... the curfew on all Tunisian territory will be lifted," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The curfew was imposed after protests that started in the central town of Kasserine, where an unemployed man was electrocuted during a January 16 demonstration over the lack of economic prospects in the region.

The unrest, the worst since the uprising five years ago that ousted long time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, spread to several other towns and to Tunis where shops were burned and looted in one suburb in the night of January 21.

The authorities announced the curfew the next day, and protests ebbed after continuing for a while in Kasserine and the nearby town of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the 2011 revolution.

Tunisia in November imposed another night-time curfew in the capital and suburbs after a deadly bus bombing claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. It was lifted in December.

Following the November 24 suicide attack that killed 12 presidential guards, the government also declared a nationwide state of emergency, which remains in place.

While Tunisia is considered a rare success story of the 2011 regional uprisings known as the Arab Spring, the authorities have failed to resolve the problems of social exclusion.

Last year two other IS-claimed attacks in the capital and near the Mediterranean resort town of Sousse killed a total of 60 people, all but one of them foreign tourists.

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