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.

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments