Tunisian police fired tear gas at protesters who refused an authority’s decision to reopen a controlled landfill in the southern town Agareb, a first test for the government appointed by President Kais Saied, who seized executive power in July.
Local radio Shems FM and witnesses said a young protester was killed by police tear gas in Agareb. The interior ministry said the person had nothing to do with the protests and died at home, 6km from the protest, because of an emergency health condition.
The closing of a controlled landfill this year in Agareb saw thousands of tons of household waste to accumulate for about a month in streets, markets and even hospitals of Sfax, the second largest Tunisian city.
The accumulation of waste sparked widespread anger in Sfax, where thousands protested last week saying authorities were deliberately killing them and violating their rights.
The Agareb landfill, 20km from Sfax, was closed after residents complained, saying diseases spread and they are suffering an environmental disaster.
Saied called on the Minister of the Interior and the Prime Minister to find an immediate solution.
Late on Monday, the Ministry of Environment reopened the closed landfill despite a judicial decision prohibiting it.
Witnesses said when workers began collecting waste and transporting it to Agareb, hundreds of young people gathered, rejecting the decision, which prompted police to fire tear gas to disperse them.
Saied faces mounting criticism since assuming executive authority in July, brushing aside most of the constitution to seize near total power in moves critics say is a coup.
Saied unveiled a new government in October and promised a national dialogue, but has yet to lay out a detailed plan to restore normal constitutional order.