Tunisia sacks governor of troubled Sidi Bouzid

AFP , Monday 8 Oct 2012

After a week of unrest and violence in the Tunisian flashpoint city of Sidi Bouzid , its governor is sacked

The governor of Sidi Bouzid has been sacked after weeks of violent unrest in the central region of Tunisia that was also the birthplace of last year's revolution, local media reported on Monday.

Mohamed Nejib Mansouri was replaced by Amara Tlijani, previously governor of the southern region of Kebili, a government statement carried by the official TAP news agency said.

Tlijani, an economist who worked in the regional development sector under the regime of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, took charge of Sidi Bouzid's development after the revolution, before becoming governor of Kebili.

His appointment follows weeks of tensions in Tunisia's flashpoint central town, where protests have multiplied amid rising discontent over poor living conditions and other social grievances.

On Friday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 people who had gathered in Sidi Bouzid accusing outgoing governor Mansouri of "incompetence" and calling for him to go.

Some protesters tried to break into regional government headquarters.

Days earlier, hundreds of people had marched through the town to demand the governor's resignation while teachers went on strike to denounce the arrest of protesters, with several other localities also witnessing similar unrest.

Events in Sidi Bouzid have symbolic resonance, being where the uprising began that toppled Ben Ali and touched off the Arab Spring when a street vendor set himself on fire in December 2010 in protest over his own precarious livelihood.

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