The governorates of Gafsa, Siliana and Gabes experienced general strikes on Wednesday 27 November , as protestors demanded more government investment particularly in schools and hospitals, AFP reported.
In Siliana, businesses and administration offices closed in memory of the anniversary of clashes a year ago between police and demonstrators wheh some 300 people were injured. The crowds and police threw rocks at each other according to a report on Al Jazeera TV.
The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) said that investments in the region promised after the crackdown in 2012 have not been made. In terms of development, Siliana ranks 18th of 24 governorates, according to the website Al Magharebia.
Gafsa and Gabes were also on strike Wednesday to denounce regional development disparities and unemployment.
Protesters attempted to storm government offices in Gafsa before police fired tear gas to disperse them. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated over their declining economic situation, calling for greater investment in their impoverished regions, according to AFP. Protesters set fire to the office of Tunisia’s Ennahdha party. They called for the fall of the government.
Unemployment remains dangerously high at 15.7 per cent according to the National Institute of Statistics. However in the deprived industrial heartlands of Gafsa, Gabes, Siliana and Sidi Bouzid where the Tunisian revolution began in 2011, the unemploymentrate is far higher at 20-29 percent with even higher figure for young people. The return of unrest in the region comes at a time of intense public frustration over the political impasse and the stalled National Dialogue.