Tunisians strike after deadly clashes with police in south

Published February 10th, 2015 - 07:42 GMT

Tunisians near the Libyan border staged a general strike Tuesday following deadly

clashes between police and protestors over the authorities’ seizure of contraband

gasoline, local unions told the AFP.

Only emergency services, pharmacists and bakers were continuing to work in the

Tatouine area, the unions said. An AFP journalist reported that Ben Guerdane, near the

Ras Jedir border post, was crippled by the strike as police used tear gas to disperse

stone-throwing protestors.

Tunisians in the south subsist largely on illegal cross-border trade, most notably the

smuggling of Libyan oil.

An estimated 328,000 tons of contraband pass through Ras Jedir annually, and as

much as twenty percent of Ben Guerdane’s economically active population survives on

smuggling.

A December, 2013 World Bank report stated that cross-border smuggling with Libya

and Algeria was costing the Tunisian exchequer more than 1.2 billion dinars ($675

million or 600 million Euros) a year.


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