Tunisia: Protests erupt in several cities against general lockdown

Hundreds of Tunisians staged Sunday protests in several cities of the North African country to boycott the new general lockdown measures in place to curb contaminations of the COVID-19 virus.

 

The government’s decision of nation-wide night curfew and general lockdown for one week, starting May 9 and covering Eid al-Fitr came into effect Sunday but met rejections.

 

Hundreds of citizens ignored the beginning of the measures and stormed streets and opened their businesses in several cities including Tunis, Gafsa, Sousse, Bizerte, Kairouan and Nabeul.

 

The protestors criticized the governmental decision arguing that it impedes on their livelihood.

 

The union of the country’s industrialists, traders, artisans, UTICA, in the cities of Gabès and Kef asked its members of ignore the measures and to continue working.

 

Tunisia is grappling with containment of the pandemic. The North African country on May 08 reported 1,301 new cases bringing the toll of contaminations to 320,813 while the fatalities count has hit 11,429.

 

The ministry of health Saturday indicated that the situation could worsen in the coming weeks, as a fourth wave is expected after the discovery of the South African variant.

 

The pandemic situation has compounded the economic condition of the country which is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a loan.

 

Tunisia’s economy contracted by 8.8% last year as the pandemic hit the vital tourism sector. This year the economy is expected to grow by 3.8%. according to IMF estimates.

 

Tunisia also struggles with a surge in its budget deficit that stood at 11.5% in 2020 when the country received $750 million emergency assistance from the IMF.

 

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