First Published: 2017-06-16

Protesters agree to end blockade of Tunisia oil plant
Government meets many demands of young, unemployed protesters who had held three-month sit-in at El-Kamour pumping station demanding jobs, investment.
Middle East Online

Protesters say they will not remove their camp until deal has been honoured by government

TUNIS - Protesters agreed Friday to end a blockade of a Tunisian oil and gas plant that saw bloody clashes with police last month after the government met many of their demands.

The mainly young unemployed protesters had held a three-month sit-in at the El-Kamour pumping station demanding jobs and investment in the impoverished southern Tataouine region.

Amid growing fears the social unrest could spread, Employment Minister Imed Hammami signed a deal with representatives of the protesters brokered by Tunisia's powerful trade union confederation.

"This agreement satisfies everyone... and will be very beneficial for Tataouine and Tunisia," Hammami said at the signing ceremony, which was streamed live by Radio Tataouine on its Facebook page.

"The demands of young people in Tataouine are going to be met" in terms of jobs in the oil companies and the creation of an investment fund for the region, and the plant will resume production "immediately", he said.

On May 22, the sit-in at El-Kamour turned violent when protesters tried to storm the plant and police responded with tear gas.

One protester, Anouar Sakrafi, in his early 20s, was run over by a national guard vehicle and later died of his injuries in hospital.

Sakrafi's father was one of the representatives who signed Friday's agreement on behalf of the protesters. Hammadi described it as a "noble gesture on their part".

But in a mark of the distrust of the government in the region, the protesters' spokesman Tarek Haddad said they would not remove their camp outside the remote desert plant two hours' drive from the town of Tataouine until the deal had been honoured.

"The tents will remain in place until they start to implement the measures," he said.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Syria donors fall short of UN target without US aid

Same family names in Lebanon election

Turkey jails opposition daily journalists

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Western powers dismiss claim that Syria chemical attack was staged

US defense secretary says 'no decision' yet on Iran deal

Israel flash floods leave several young people missing

Highs and lows in Egypt’s Operation Sinai

416 donors to IS identified in France

Five migrants die trying to cross Mediterranean

Rights architects nominated for UK art prize

In Iraq's Anbar, election offers chance to settle scores

Philippines demands explanation after Kuwait expels ambassador

UK ‘seeking information’ over British-Iranian’s arrest

Macron says Trump may pull out of Iran nuclear deal

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict